- Published on Thursday, 09 August 2012 13:47
Almost a year ago, Libya liberated itself from Muammar Gaddafi’s rule. This year, athletes of a free Libya made a remarkable appearance at the London Olympics. Oh, how the times have changed! After long hours of training, they raised their country's new flag during the opening ceremony. Their ride from revolution to the world's most watched athletic competition proved to be challenging, though, when Libya’s Olympic Committee chief was kidnapped by gunmen. After great efforts by the committee, he was freed in time to attend the London games.
Among Libya’s athletes participating at the Olympics was one female, twenty-two-year-old Hala Gezah, who participated in the Womens 100m sprint. Her performance at the women's 100 meter race resulted in a fifth place finish which was an achievement for her and her coach who were just proud that Libya was able to be present at such an extraordinary event at all.
On Monday, the Libyan Olympic Committee celebrated Libya day at the Africa village, where all the participating African countries have hosted their Olympic Committees. Aslan Media’s Eman Jueid had the opportunity to speak to Hala Gezah about her experience at the Olympics.
Aslan Media: How was your Olympic Experience?
Hala Gezah: It was a great experience. It was my first time to participate at the olympics and I am extremely proud that I ranked fifth position. I am already looking forward to the next Olympics.
AM: How did it feel to be the only female athlete representing Libya?
HG: Of course it was a great experience and I was really proud to be representing my country, I just wish I had other fellow female athletes to be competing with as I did not want to be the only female competing.
AM: What challenges do female athletes face in Libya?
HG: I wish Libya had more female athletes. In Libya there wasn't anything encouraging women to participate in sports, however, I think there will be more encouragement as the country continues to develop itself.
AM: The Olympics has taken place during the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan. How did you go about participating in the holy month whilst competing?
HG: In the beginning I was not able to fast as my training was extremely intense because the field I am participating in required a lot of strength. Now I have competed I am fasting the rest of Ramadan and aim to fast back the days I have missed in the beginning.
AM: What will you take back from this Olympic experience?
HG: It was a very good experience. I met many athletes and learnt a lot from them as well as other races. I was able to reflect on my own strengths and abilities and by observing other athletes during their training and whilst competing I will take back these variety of experiences which I can later adopt to my own abilities and build on my skills.
AM: What are your plans after the Olympics?
HG: I would like to train more and prepare myself for the next Olympics. This time I was not fully prepared and would like to ensure I perform even better next time.By Eman Jueid, Aslan Media Content Manager