Pakistan-origin Baloch woman set to make history in Rio Olympics

Pakistan-origin Baloch woman set to make history in Rio Olympics
Madiea Ghafoor

On Friday, 23-year-old athlete Madiea Ghafoor will create history, when she will take part in Rio Olympics becoming the first Baloch girl to achieve this feat.

Although her parents belong to Lyari, Karachi City in Pakistan’s Sindh province, she was born and raised in Amsterdam, and she is the granddaughter of the late Lal Baksh Rind, a progressive and enlightened leader who left a strong footprint on the history of Balochistan, Rind was senior politician whose diverse work included striving for the betterment of the relatively impoverished locality in Karachi, according to Pakistani blog Express Tribune.

Pakistan-origin Baloch woman set to make history in Rio Olympics

Talking about her ethnic uniqueness in the Games, Madiea Ghafoor revealed she was unaware that she was the first female Baloch to feature at the Olympics.

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“I feel honoured to be a part of this huge event and to be an inspiration for the Baloch people, especially the youth,” she said. “I had no idea I was the first Baloch girl to participate at the Games until someone informed me about that. This has made me even more determined to do the best I can.” Madiea Ghafoor told the daily.

Madiea said she has been involved in track and field since a young age and was spotted when she was 13.

“We had a sports event at my high school where my coach Sammy Monsels noticed my potential and asked me if I would pursue formal training,” she said. “Ten years down the road, I’m training in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam with the help of my coach Urtha Rozenstruik.”

And Madiea Ghafoor has impressed in her career so far. She bagged a bronze medal in the 2011 European Athletics Junior Championships in Estonia, where she finished third in the women’s 400m event, and has raced for the Netherlands in indoor European championships as well, reaching the semi-finals.

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According to Madiea Ghafoor, she was pleasantly surprised to be selected for the current Olympics as she had had a bad year due to injury. “I was stunned when I received the news, but I was grateful as well,” she said. “I have prepared myself physically and mentally for the relay the best I could, and hope I can vindicate my selection.”

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