by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 1 minute read
  • August 08, 2021
Meet The Gulf Women Who Were At The Forefront Of This Year’s Tokyo Olympics

As the Tokyo Olympics draw to a close today with a heart-stopping finale, we look back at women athletes from the Gulf region who represented their countries with great gusto at the coveted event. From swimming to splinting, rowing to judo, these trailblazers are a source of inspiration for future generations of women athletes in the Gulf.

Lara Dashti, Kuwait

17-year-old swimmer Lara Dashti, who competed in the women’s 50-meter freestyle, became the first female athlete to lift the Kuwaiti flag at an Olympic opening ceremony, along with shooter Talal Al-Rashid. This was the first time that two athletes from the team were permitted to participate in the raising of the flag – a huge milestone and cause for celebration for Kuwait and the Gulf region. “No words can describe the feelings and emotions I had carrying the flag of my dear Kuwait. It was such an honor,” she wrote on Instagram.

Noor Yusuf Abdulla, Bahrain

At just age 15, Noor was invited to participate in the women’s 50-meter freestyle, following her impressive performances at the 18th FINA World Championships 2019 in Guangju, South Korea, and the seventh FINA Junior Swimming Championships 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. She was also given the honor of being the flag-bearer of her country at the opening ceremony.

Yasmeen Al Dabbagh, Saudi Arabia

“From the age of 11, I had my sight set on the Olympics, even though that felt like a long-shot dream. Today, I stand on the shoulders of many who have supported me,” 23-year-old Yasmeen said on her Instagram account. Having earned her spurs as the fastest sprinter in the Kingdom, she participated in the women’s 100-meters event. Not only is she a star on the track but also on the educational front, as she graduated from Columbia University in 2019.

Tala Abujbara, Qatar

29-year-old Tala is a rower who competed in the women’s single sculls event at the Olympics. Having learnt how to row while she was studying at Williams College, Massachusetts, she opted for single sculls upon her return to Qatar. “Incredibly honored and humbled to represent my country at the Olympic Games. A moment I will never forget,” she wrote on Instagram, as she carried her country’s flag at the opening ceremony.

Next In