Munirah Warsame is set to become the first athlete to represent Somalia in taekwondo at the Olympics, with a goal of Tokyo 2020.
The 20-year-old, who competes in the under 49 kilograms category, was born in Britain after her parents fled the civil war in Somalia.
But she is proud to represent the country of origin of her parents.
Warsame hopes to be one of six athletes representing Somalia at Tokyo 2020 in track and field, boxing and taekwondo.
“The feeling of representing my country at the Olympics for the first time is unreal because I have dreamed of it literally my whole life since I was six years old when I started taekwondo,” she said. Voice of America.
“And also, it’s such an exciting experience; I planned to represent my home country for my first Olympic Games and, inchallah [God willing], I will be proud of myself and my country. “
Warsame was one of the athletes from 18 countries who participated two years ago in the “Booyoung Dream Program” organized by World Taekwondo in Muju, South Korea.
The program, sponsored by Booyoung, offered athletes with limited financial means the opportunity to travel to South Korea to help them in their Olympic preparation.
Somalia’s taekwondo coach Dudley Ricardo believes Warsame’s qualification for Tokyo 2020, which is due to open on July 23 and end on August 8, would be a boost to the program in Somalia.
“The potential of the Somali national team looks quite bright and promising,” said Ricardo Voice of America.
“I think we have a small but strong current squad with promising young members, and we will be able to see a lot more results in future competitions.
“The only constraints we have are funding to allow athletes to save time in the ring and more competitions and training camps.”
Ahmed Issa, vice president of the Somali Taekwondo Federation, plans to use the Olympics as an opportunity to introduce the sport to more people in the African country.
“[The] The Somali Taekwondo Federation plans to recruit more young people to practice the sport, especially in universities, colleges and schools, ”he said.
“We try to make our training sessions free and hire special international level coaches so people are really interested in being a part of [the] taekwondo. “
Somalia made their Olympic debut in Munich in 1972 but did not compete again until Los Angeles 1984.
After missing Barcelona 1992, the country has competed in every Olympic Games since Atlanta 1996 but is still waiting to win its first medal.
The closest to Olympic success is thanks to Sir Mo Farah, winner of four gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at London 2012 and Rio 2016, but for Britain after fleeing Somalia as a child to avoid civil war.