Mogadishu, Somalia – One month away from the Tokyo Olympics, Somalia is preparing to send its first female taekwondo athlete to the games in Japan.
No athlete representing Somalia has ever won a medal at the Olympics, but 20-year-old Munirah Warsame is working hard to be the first when she takes part in the summer games.
The taekwondo athlete was born in Britain after her parents fled violence in Somalia.
Warsame says it will be a proud moment to fly the flag of his homeland in Japan.
“The feeling of representing my country at the Olympics for the first time is unreal, as I’ve dreamed of it all my life since literally I was six when I started taekwondo. And it’s such an experience as well. exciting; I have planned to represent my home country for my first time at the Olympics and inshallah (God willing) I will be proud of myself and my country, “said Warsame.
According to the Somali Olympic Committee, at least six athletes will represent the country in Tokyo in three categories: taekwondo, boxing and track and field.
Taekwondo coach Dudley Ricardo says his team are very well prepared despite their financial difficulties.
“The potential of the Somali national team looks pretty bright and promising. 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 We have funding to save athletes time in the ring and more competitions and training camps, ”said Ricardo.
Taekwondo is not a well-known sport in Somalia. But Ahmed Issa, vice president of the Somali Taekwondo Federation, said she was leading an awareness and awareness campaign in the country to find more capable athletes like Warsame who could represent Somalia in international competitions.
“[The] The Somali Taekwondo Federation plans to recruit more young people to practice the sport, especially in universities, colleges and schools. We try to make our training sessions free and hire special international level trainers so that people are really interested in being a part of [the] taekwondo sport, ”Issa said.
More than 11,000 athletes from around the world are expected to participate in the Tokyo games, which were postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.