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Mariam Farid: 'We do exist. We are here.'

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Mariam Farid during the Doha 2017 Diamond League’s press conference at Qatar Olympic Committee Tower in Doha, Qatar. (Photo: Lily Lee)

by Lily Lee, AIPS Young Reporter, Hong Kong

DOHA, May 1, 2017 - As a rising athletics star of Qatar, Mariam Farid is more than a Qatari athlete – she is becoming one iconic figure for Qatari women.

 

On the upcoming Doha 2017 Diamond League, the 19-year-old sprinter will be competing in the 100m and 4x100m relay.

 

 

“I feel excited and I cannot wait to show the world the power of Qatari woman. I believe that I will have a great performance in Doha in front of my home crowd. This is one of the ways to prove that Qatari women can play sports and we are able to compete with others,” she exclusively told AIPS.

 

 

“We are aiming to go worldwide. We want to show them that we can be strong and powerful. The Qatari women are able to train and to complete in everything,” she added.

 

 

Mariam is hoping to change the people’s perception of women’s sport across the Middle East. As a Muslim girl, Mariam wants to send a message: “I just want to show the world that wearing the hijab does not mean that the girls cannot do sport and compete internationally. We do exist as athletes and we are able to train and compete with others,” she underlined.

 

 

“We are women. We do exist as Qatari women. We are able to compete in international leagues like other people do. So, we are hoping to change the view and perception of people looking to us.”

 

 

Student and athlete

 

A full-time student at Northwestern University in Doha, where she is studying Communications, Mariam has a two-hour training session every day, except for Fridays. She feels grateful for the support from both her university and the Qatar Olympic Committee, which allowed her to make a balance between athletics and academic life.

 

 

“Whenever I have an important competition, my university always supports me, and whenever I have exams I have the support of the Olympic Committee,” she explained.

 

 

Mariam thinks her mission goes beyond sporting results, as she knows her presence in the Diamond League is an inspiration for girls across the region.

 

 

“I want to change and improve women’s sport and I want to make Qatar proud. I am here to inspire the younger generations to believe in themselves and to compete in the world stage.”

 

 

As any other athlete, Mariam’s dream is to be the best of the world one day.

 

“Of course I would like to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. What I do is to train very hard every day, because I want to achieve my goals,” the 19-year-old admitted.

 

 

But as the role model she is, her biggest accomplishment can be to turn a new generation of women into sports, a priceless medal for Qatar’s future.

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