9 Inspirational Hijabi Olympians who Stand Tall In Victory & Defeat

Did you know there are 33 Olympians in hijab at Rio 2016? The Hijabi Olympians at Rio 2016 made a few headlines; from winning medals to finishing last. These ladies competed with positive attitude regardless. Many ages below 25, from track and field, to fencing, shooting, archery and weightlifting these young and strong ladies have much to be proud of – representing Muslim women who choose to compete in hijab and modestly.

Here are the 9 inspirational hijabi Olympians at Rio 2016 other than the 24 sisters mainly from Egypt, Saudi and Iran:

  1. Ibtihaj Muhammad, USA, Fencing


    Strong and Determined Ibtihaj

    She did many of us proud. Known as the first hijab-wearing muslim American who compete at the Olympics at London 2012, this time at Rio 2016, she won the bronze medal  in the Team Sabre, together with 3 other female fencers. Hailed from New Jersey, Ibtihaj is apart of the United States National Fencing Team since 2010.

  2. Kamia Yousufi, Afghanistan, Athletic Women’s 100m

    Born in Iran, Kamia, 20 competed in the 100 meters at Rio 2016 with a ranking of 22, 14.02 second. Kamia and  Kariman Abuljadayel from Saudi are the two sprinters competed on the track in modest attire, covered with hijab. She definitely got the opportunity to learn from the best and hopefully they will come back to the Olympics in Japan in 2020 for better rank.


    Kamia Yousofi, upon finishing the 100 meter sprint at Rio 2016

    You can try out Nashata’s toplectic designed for performance to get the seamless look as Kamia

  3. Maryan Nuh Muse, Somalia, Athletic Women’s 400m

    After two decades of civil war, Somalia sent two athletes to Rio 2016. Mayran is one of them. She ran the 400 meters and finished last but she remained calm. After all, it is a new beginning for Somalian athletes.

    Confident and Inspirational Maryan

    Confident and Inspirational Maryan

  4. Salwa Eid Naser from Bahrain, Athletic Women’s 400m
    Although she didn’t win any medal at the Rio 2016, Salwa Eid Naser, 18, is the athlete we must watch. She completed running the semifinals 3rd placing at 51.06s. Prior to the Olympic, she won the gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Athletics in 2015

    Salwa clocked 50.88s at Rio 2016 400 meters

    Salwa clocked personal best time 50.88s at Rio 2016 400 meters

  5. Ayesha al Balooshi, United Arab Emirates, Weightlifting

    She competed with 15 other strong ladies category 58 kg weightlifting at Rio and ranked last. It is still a good performance as she did her personal best lifting 162kg.


    Lifted 162 kg at Rio 2016

  6. Samira Ouass, Morocco, Weight Lifting

    She competed in Women’s 75 kg category and completed rank 7
    Samira Ouass

  7. Shehzana Anwar, Kenya, Archery

    She started archery in 2002 when she was 12 years old. At Rio 2016, she ranks 62 out of 65 other archers.


    Keep aiming for a good win!

  8. Minhal Sohail, Pakistan, Shooting

    21 years old Minhal got to compete at Rio 2016 for 10 meter air rifle. She is the first female shooter to represent Pakistan at the Olympics. At Rio 2016, she ranked 28 out of 51 contestants.

    Pakistan's Minhal Sohail competes in the women's 10m air rifle shooting qualifications at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 2016. / AFP / Pascal GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

    Pakistan’s Minhal Sohail competes in the women’s 10m air rifle shooting qualifications at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 2016. / AFP / Pascal GUYOT (Photo credit should read PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

  9. Wadha Al Balushi, Oman, Shooting

    She competed in air pistol 10 meter at Rio 2016 and ranked 26 out of 44 shooters. She is one of the four Olympians representing Oman at Rio 2016. 

Do expect them to compete back strong at  the next Olympics. Be inspired and stand tall in victory or defeat, like these strong ladies.


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Nur Suryani : a Lieutenant, an Olympian Shooter, a Mother, a Wife, a Hijabist Athlete

In August 1997, when Lieutenant Nur Suryani was schooling at Simpang Pulai, Perak,  she was given the opportunity to participate in the audition to join Police Cadet. She was only 15 years old and her father, Mohd Taibi, back then a Malay Army Soldier or better known as Tentera Askar Melayu, encouraged her to pick up shooting. He used to guard the weapons at the Malay Army. Prior to the audition, she was active in Taekwondo, hockey and volleyball at school. The first weapon she used was a pistol and later she picked up the rifle.


To be perfect anywhere and in any field” – That is her exact words as to what is her personal goal.

Within a short span of a year, in 1998, she competed in Sukan Malaysia (SUKMA) in Selangor. At 16 years old, she shot the rifle and won herself a Bronze medal. She had two trainers : Peter Gordon Fehe and Felix Ho, both of whom she spoke fondly of. Both of them helped building her shooting capabilities in her early days for 50 meter range.  In 1999, she was busy with the last national examination at school, locally known as Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

In year 2000, Suryani pursued her diploma in Health and Fitness at UiTM and joined the national shooting team. That was when she got her first international exposure; from Thailand Open to SEA Shooting Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. During subsequent years, she was juggling between her studies and shooting. With high determination to succeed, in 2001, she won the Gold medal at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. As her studies was important to her, she completed her diploma on schedule in 2002.

Suryani wanted to continue her degree in sports science, which inevitably a challenge to any high performing rising athletes. She managed her time well, juggling both her studies and training. She was already receiving good support from via Majlis Sukan Negara since year 2000, where she got training at the Subang Shooting Range every Saturday and Sunday while at UiTM. She also swam to keep her body fit and strong during university days. This is the regime she went through when she decided to pursue her degree in Sports Science in 2005. In 2008, she had to choose whether or not to focus on her degree at Universiti Putra Malaysia or improve her performance in shooting. It was a tough decision as both her studies and training require a lot of time and attention.

Her participation in the air rifle at International Competitions intensified in 2006 when she participated in:

  • 2006 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia : Bronze Medal
  • 2010 19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India : Gold Medal
  • 2012 Summer Olympic – Competed for 10 meter air rifle

Suryani & Marhazli. Her husband has been the backbone and key motivator in her shooting pursuit

She has inspired a lot of women across the globe and has made many mothers proud. She was eight months pregnant when she made headlines at international level competing in the Summer Olympics 2012. She was very driven and motivated even though, physically, she was heavy carrying baby Dayana. Dayana has an impressive flexibility and is almost two years old now.

Olympian Suryani, qualifies for the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on the 23 July — 3 August 2014 and is gunning for the gold medal. She worked hard to qualify for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and is eyeing for another opportunity to participate in the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Shooting requires a lot of self-discipline as it is an individual game and takes a lot of personal effort to qualify for international level competitions like the Olympic Games.  She claims mental and physical strength are equally important in this sports.

Lieutenant Suryani joined the Navy as a naval logistics officer in 2008. At Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM), she is involved in the training unit at Jalan Semarak, Kuala Lumpur. In 2011, she ended her single life and got married to Marhazli, a police officer. They are blessed with an Olympian baby daughter, Dayana. Suryani speaks dearly of her husband who has been the pivotal strength in supporting her sporting career. Her family does recreational activities twice or three times a week together at parks.

Suryani, now 32, will continue to push herself to achieve her fullest potential. It took her seven (7) months to get back into the range after delivering her first child. It was certainly not easy for her or any other mother Olympians to compete with other rising athletes. A good shooter needs to be able to focus well and have a stable, strong build. She trains every morning and in the afternoon she goes to the gym or swim to build physical strength. Otherwise, her husband would take her and Dayana to the park for light training.

Suryani is very supportive about fitness for muslim women. She too supports Nashata’s efforts in promoting fitness for our sisters – through products, stories and our many other efforts to help women to have an active lifestyle.

Lieutenant Nur Suryani

Lieutenant Nur Suryani GRACED Nashata at the Launch 15 March 2014 at Shah Alam

She wants to proof to herself she could do it. So let’s support Olympian Suryani, a lieutenant, a hijabista, a mother, a wife – as she truly inspires the muslim and mother athletes. We all have choices to achieve our dreams, and with Allah’s will and support from family, friends and the government, InsyaAllah – no matter how many other titles you carry, be it a mother and a wife – you can do it!

May she bring back the GOLD medal from the Commonwealth Game this coming August!


pictures sources : blog fiqrah2u, bleacher report & sinar harian