Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Egyptian athlete Jihan El Midnay flies the flag

Jihan El Midany Pic: Egyptian Street

In 2010 Jihan El Midany became the first woman to carry the Egyptian national flag into an Olympic cermony - the Youth Olympics in August. She competed in the pentathlete event (fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running) coming 12th.

In an interview at the time, she said: "I was sick and dizzy. After fencing, I felt like collapsing, and after the swim I was really tired.I never really thought of eating, but I thought of drinking because I’ve been perspiring a lot. While training I was fasting but when I was sick, I had to take medication so I did not fast.”

The games took place last year during the Muslim month of Ramadan hence the references to fasting.

The sixteen year old had to make some tough clothing decisions - confronting her own traditional views of women's dress. 

She has said in interviews that she was initially reluctant to wear the revealing swimwear but her family persuaded her that it would be alright as she couldn't compete without conforming to the competition dress rules. 

(Update on this: In 2014 she said: "I want to prove that the veil does not have to prevent girls from doing anything," according to a piece on Egyptian Street.)

I came across El Midany's story reading Egyptian blogger Egyptian Chronicles, you can read more over at this post on the blog Muslim Women in Sport.

What do you think about the sportswear some athletes have to wear - swimming and beach volley-ball spring to mind? 


Emmet Ryan said...

Well swimming is a bizarre one given the controversy over how the attire affects performance. Beach volleyball really gets a hard time, sure there was that awesome Marty Morrissey video but it's quite athletic and the conditions it's played it really wouldn't make it conducive to wearing more clothing. That said, I still prefer to watch the indoor version.

niamh said...

How very PC of you Emmet! Are you running for election in a female-friendly consitutiency?!

Emmet Ryan said...

I just call it as I see it and frankly the mocking of beach volleyball doesn't seem gender specific with regards where it comes from. Also last I checked there isn't a constituency on the island that doesn't have a majority of female voters registered.