Seventeen Middle Eastern countries are competing in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, 14 of which have female flag bearers. With the exception of the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Libya, the rest of the 17 Arab countries have women competing in a variety of sports, including shooting, rowing, swimming, boxing, table tennis, fencing, athletics and taekwondo. The youngest Arab female participating is 12 years old and the oldest is 35 years old!
Almost every country has two flag bearers; a male and a female athlete, who carry their country’s national flag during the games’ opening and closing ceremony.
We give you 14 Arab women participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and carrying their countries’ flags with pride.
Algeria – Amel Melih
This year’s Algerian female flag bearer is Amel Melih, a 27-year-old swimmer. Melih started swimming at the age of four and one of her ambitions has been to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. She’s competing twice in the women’s 100m freestyle and the women’s 50m freestyle.
Bahrain – Noor Yusuf Abdulla
This year, the Bahraini female flag bearer is fifteen-year-old, Noor Abdulla, a swimmer who looks up to Michael Phelps. She’s competing in the women’s 50m freestyle.
Egypt – Hedaya Wahba
Hedaya Wahba raised Egypt’s flag at the opening ceremony as its leading taekwondo champion. The 28-year-old has been playing taekwondo since she was six. She initially started practicing the sport as a hobby but went on to win the bronze medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, her goal has been to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games. She’ll be competing in the women under 67kg round of 16.
Iraq – Fatimah Abbas Waheeb Al-Kaabi
Iraq’s only Olympic medal was a bronze won in the men’s 67.5kg weightlifting category in 1960. This year, 21-year-old shooter, Al-Kaabi, will be representing Iraq in the Olympic games. She has participated in the Youth Olympic Games and is competing in the 10m Air Pistol Women’s Qualification.
Jordan – Julyana Al-Sadeq
This year, the Jordanian female flag bearer is 26-year-old taekwondo player, Julyana Al-Sadeq, who was the first Jordanian female to win gold in taekwondo in the Asian Games in 2018. This year she is competing in the women -67kg round of 16.
Kuwait – Lara Dashti
Kuwait’s first appearance was in the 1968 Olympic Games. This year the country’s flag bearer is 17-year-old Lara Dashti. Dashti is representing Kuwait in swimming and will be competing in the women’s 50m freestyle.
Lebanon – Ray Bassil
The Lebanese female flag bearer is 32-year-old shooter, Ray Bassil. She started shooting at the age of eight and started competing professionally at the age of 16.
Morocco – Oumayma Belahbib
Belahbib is a professional boxer and at just 24, she managed to secure herself a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and will be competing in the women’s welter (64-69kg) – preliminaries – round of 16.
Palestine – Dania Nour
Palestinian Dania Nour will be competing in the women’s 50m freestyle. At just 17 years of age, she already has 11 years of experience in swimming. Her dream is to swim the 50m freestyle in under 30 seconds.
Qatar – Tala Abujbara
Qatar has come a long way since 1984 when it first competed with an all-male team. This year, 29-year-old Abujbara will be representing Qatar while competing in the sport of rowing.
Saudi Arabia – Yasmeen Al Dabbagh
The fastest Saudi Arabian woman, Yasmeen Al Dabbagh, 23, will be competing at this year’s Olympic Games. Al Dabbagh qualified for the games when she broke a record on June 4.
Syria – Hend Zaza
Syrian table tennis player, 12-year-old Hend Zaza is the youngest Arab female competitor this year. She has been playing the sport since she was five and has previously beat 42-year-old Lebanese player, Mariana Sahakian. Zaza will be competing in the women’s singles preliminary round.
Tunisia – Ines Boubakri
In the last Olympic Games, Tunisia won three medals. This year, Tunisia is being represented by 32-year-old fencing champion, Boubakri, who has been fencing since she was five and had previously come in third place at the Olympic Games in 2016. This year, she will be competing in the women’s foil individual table of 32.
Yemen – Yasameen Al Raimi
This year, Yemen is competing in shooting with the oldest female flag bearer, 35-year-old Al Raimi, who will be competing in the 10m Air Pistol Women’s Qualification.