First Muslim Woman of Arab Origin to Carry Hungarian Flag at Olympics

Hungarian Fencer Aida Mohamed Joins Very Small Group of Women by Competing in Seventh Olympics
In this handout image provided by the International Fencing Federation (FIE), Aida Mohamed of Hungary competes in the women's foil event at the Havana Grand Prix on March 12, 2016 in Havana, Cuba. (Photo by Serge Timacheff/FIE via Getty Images)

Muslim women have won a great number of medals in the Olympics beginning in 1984 with Moroccan runner Nawal Al-Mutawakil who achieved the first gold for Arab Muslim women in the history of the Olympics. The achievements of Muslim women continued with Syrian runner Ghada Shuaa in Atlanta 1996, and the list goes on to include other champions, such as Egyptian gymnast Hedaya Malak and weightlifter Sarah Ahmed Saeed in Rio de Janeiro. Moreover, in the fencing event, Ibtihaj Muhammad, was the first Muslim-American to wear the hijab to participate in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

The 45-year-old Aida Mohammed, born in Budapest to a Syrian father and Hungarian mother, has qualified to compete in foil at the Tokyo Olympics and was the first Muslim woman of Arab origin to carry the Hungarian flag at the Olympics.

Aida Mohamed has not missed the Olympics since 1996, as she participated in 6 consecutive editions, from the Atlanta to the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016. She has earned one silver medal and six bronze in individual foil at world championships, and a team gold at the 2007 European championships. But she has never managed to reach the podium at the Olympics.

Aida, who is left-handed, competes in foil, using a lighter and more flexible weapon than the rigid épée. She is currently ranked 29th in the world in her category by the World Fencing Federation.

Aida owes her credit to the physical education teacher in her primary school who believed in her talent and ability to compete in the sport of fencing.

She has shown her strong personality in fencing since she was in the junior sector, where she won titles and decorated her neck with medals, achieving the European Cadet Bronze in 1991 at the age of fifteen, and the gold at the World Junior Championships in 1992.

After moving to the senior level, she won her first official medal in 1992 with the silver of the European Championship, then another silver at the 1993 World Championships. She also won the bronze in the 2006 World Fencing Championships.

She met the Canadian Olympic fencer Laurie Shong in 1999 and six years later the couple married in 2005. They have two daughters with the first at 12 years old and the second at 7.

History of Hungary in the Olympic Games

Hungary has a long history of participating in Olympic tournaments starting with the 1896 Games in Athens.  Its tally of medals totals 476 with 167 gold, 144 silver and 165 bronze, and it ranks eighth in terms of medals since the inception of the Modern Olympic Games.

Hungary has the third most Olympic fencing medals of any country, behind Italy and France, and has earned more medals in fencing than in any other sport in which it competes.


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