This year's Tokyo Olympics was interesting. The stories of Palestinian athletes who competed at Tokyo are the best examples of how simply being present in sport can signify so much.
Swimmer Dania Nour carried the Palestinian flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics this summer, showcasing her culture on a world stage is the best thing she’s ever done.
Dania Nour, the Palestinian Olympic swimmer who participated in the Tokyo Games, is one of the most striking cases that prove that some people cannot escape politics, judging only where they come from. And Dania used her status to inspire others not only towards sports, but towards national dignity.
"Holding the Palestine flag during the opening ceremony was such a great feeling that I will never forget. It gave me the determination to continue my journey towards achieving my goal despite all the difficulties," Dania said.
At only 17 years of age and born in Bethlehem, Dania trains in the occupied West Bank with her coaches Mohammad Halman and Mousa Nawawreh. She is forced to train in a 25 metre pool and doesn't have access to a traditional 50 metre Olympic sized pool. "We don't have 50m swimming pools to practice in and we don't have expert coaches or swimming starting blocks. It was my first time training in a 50m pool in preparation for the Games."
The global pandemic further hindered her training and, as a result, her abilities. "During corona time I had to stop swimming for more than a year and went backwards in my numbers. Thank God we managed to arrange for a month of training in Berlin before the Olympics."
"I know it won't be easy for me as a Palestinian girl to fulfil such a dream, but I decided never to give up, you always have to think positive, work hard and never let your passion die."
"It is very important to show Palestinian culture on a global stage and this was my goal this time while going to the Olympics. I knew I was not ready to win and I knew I didn't have enough training yet, but the best part was holding the flag up high and being part of this big event as a Palestinian young girl."
Dania may not have won gold, but she defeated "Isarel" restrictions and limitations to get to Tokyo, held her flag up high and let her determination shine. There are no medals for people who overcome those hurdles.