Although Muslim women are often portrayed as oppressed and taking a secondary role to men, these Olympic winners are defying stereotypes and being hailed as heroes across their home countries. Hear them roar!
Dalilah Muhammad, USA, athletics: Gold
Dalilah Muhammad of the United States led from start to finish to take the Olympic gold medal in the 400 meters hurdles. She has recorded three of the five best times in the world this year. Muhammad hails from Queens, New York, and in an interview with news website NY1, her parents Nadirah and Askia Muhammad said their daughter’s Muslim faith, discipline and talent had taken her all the way to Rio.
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Majlinda Kelmendi, Kosovo, judo: Gold
Majlinda Kelmendi made history at the Rio Games as she took gold in judo to become the first athlete from Kosovo to win an Olympic medal, a feeling she said she would not trade for any amount of money in the world.
Aliya Mustafina, Russia, gymnastics: Gold, silver and bronze
Mustafina, 21, picked up three medals at the Rio Olympics, including a gold medal in the women’s uneven bars, a silver in the women’s team all-around event and bronze in the individual all-around event.
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Maria Stadnik, Azerbaijan, wrestling: Silver
In the women’s freestyle 48 kg event, Maria Stadnik, 28, won her nation a silver medal.
Zhazira Zhapparkul, Kazakhstan, weightlifting: Silver
In the women’s 69kg final event, 22 year-old Zhazira picked up a silver medal. After she won, her father said, “We are ecstatic that she won! She is not only our daughter now, but the daughter of the entire nation."
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Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, Indonesia, weightlifting: Silver
Indonesia’s Sri Wahyuni Agustiani, 22, competing in the women’s 48kg weightlifting competition, won a silver medal for her nation.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, USA, fencing: Bronze
Ibtihaj Muhammad, 30, won a bronze medal in the team sabre event. After winning she told CNN: “What I love about my experience here as a minority member of Team USA is that I’m able to encourage other youth to pursue their dreams, to not let other people dictate their journey for them.”
Sara Ahmed, Egypt, weightlifting: Bronze
Egyptian weightlifter Sara Ahmed said she had blazed a trail for women athletes after becoming the first female from her country to stand on the Olympic podium with weightlifting bronze at Rio. Ahmed is the first Arab woman to win an Olympic weightlifting medal.
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Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin, Iran, taekwondo: Bronze
Competing in the -57kg category in taekwondo, Alizadeh picked up a bronze medal, making the 18-year-old the first Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal. “I am so happy for Iranian girls because it is the first medal and I hope at the next Olympics we will get a gold,” she said.
Hedaya Wahba, Egypt, taekwondo: Bronze
In the other bronze-medal semi-final in the -57kg category, Wahba, 23, won Egypt’s third medal of the Games, only the second-ever won by an Egyptian woman. On the final day of the Olympics, more Egyptian women than men won medals in Rio.
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Patimat Abakarova, Azerbaijan, taekwondo: Bronze
Patimat Abakarova, 21, won a bronze medal at the womens taekwondo event in the -49kg category.
Ines Boubakri, Tunisia, fencing: Bronze
Tunisia’s bronze medallist Ines Boubakri dedicated her individual foil award to Arab women. After winning, the 27-year-old said, “This medal, it’s historic for Tunisia. It’s incredible. I hope that this will be a message for all Tunisians, especially our youth, all Tunisian women, the Arab woman. A message which says that you must believe that women exist and they have their place in society.”
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Marwa Amri, Tunisia, wrestling: Bronze
Marwa Amri, 27, won the bronze medal in under-58 kg women’s wrestling for Tunisia.
Nur Tatar, Turkey, taekwondo: Bronze
Nur Tatar, 24, celebrates after winning the Women’s Taekwondo -67kg Bronze Medal Contests against Chia-Chia Chuang of Chinese Taipei on Day 14.
This article originally appeared on BuzzFeed
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