Saudi, Afghani sprinters run in hijab at Olympics

Kariman Abuljadayel of Saudi Arabia (far left) competes in the 100-meter dash in Rio.

Kariman Abuljadayel of Saudi Arabia (far left) competes in the 100-meter dash in Rio.

Day 7 of the Rio Olympics marked the beginning of track and field competition, which included a teeming entry pool of 80 women in the 100-meter dash.

Two of those women ran while wearing hijab headscarves and full-body track suits in accordance with Muslim tradition, and each set their respective national records in brief yet memorable Olympic debuts.

Kariman Abuljadayel of Saudi Arabia finished seventh out of eight runners in her preliminary heat with a national record time of 14.61 seconds. She also became the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100-meter dash at the Olympics.

Kamia Yousufi

Kamia Yousufi

Kamia Yousufi of Afghanistan finished eighth in her heat, but her time of 14.02 seconds was also a national record.

Because only two or three runners from each preliminary heat advanced to the next round, these Olympics are now over for Abuljadayel, 22 years old, and Yousufi, 20.

On Wednesday, Sara Ahmed of Egypt won a bronze medal in the women’s 69-kilogram weightlifting competition while wearing hijab. Ayesha Al Balooshi of the United Arab Emirates competed in women’s 58-kilogram weightlifting while wearing hijab.

Ibtihaj Muhammad of the United States (fencing) received a lot of media attention leading up to the Olympics and has been one of the most talked-about athletes in Rio for making history as the first American athlete to compete in hijab.

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