With Naomi Osaka recently beating the powerful and 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion, Serena Williams, there’s no better time to talk about amazing female athletes changing the game. Together, women from across the globe are starting to transform what was often referred to as “a man’s world” into one overpowered with empowered women. So, without further ado, here are some of the best female Muslim athletes that are dominating the sports industry.
Laila Ali is One Muslimah Who Fights Her Way to the Top
What better way to start this list of the top female Muslim athletes than with the fierce, independent and strong Laila Ali. She holds the ideal record of a 24-0 throughout her professional boxing career, which she started at the age of 18. Laila has taken home many titles, including International Boxing Association female super middleweight titles and the IWBF light heavyweight title.
Best of all, today Laila is recognized, not for being the daughter of legendary heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali, but for being the undefeated, triumphant female Muslim boxer that she is.
Aliya Mustafina Went Gold in Gymnastics
Aliya Mustafina is another famous female Muslim athlete who landed herself a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics for gymnastics. In fact, she landed herself a gold medal in uneven bars, a silver medal in the team all-around event, and a bronze in the individual all-around event. What makes Aliya's story even more unique is that she’s descendant of Muslim champions, as her father took home an Olympic medal in the 1976 Olympics for wrestling.
Doaa Elghobashy is the First Female to Wear a Hijab in the Olympic Volleyball Event
Another incredible famous Muslima athlete that deserves to be on this list of the most inspiring and best female Muslim athletes is Doaa Elghobashy. If you watched the 2016 Olympics, you likely recall seeing her alongside Nada Meawad in the beach volleyball competition. Not only was she showing off her amazing athletic skills in the sport but she did so while wearing long sleeves, pants and a sport hijab.
Now, keep in mind that beach volleyball is normally played in tiny two-pieces so there’s no denying that following her beliefs while competing added an extra layer of challenge to the game. Pardon the pun. Nonetheless, Doaa didn’t let this stop her and she was the first in her sport to compete while wearing a sport hijab. You go, girl!
Rubab Raza is the First Pakistani Female Swimmer in the Olympics
We are all about a fierce Muslima and Rubab Raza is definitely it. When she was just a 13-year-old girl, she competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics, dubbing her as the first Pakistani female swimmer and the youngest sportswoman to represent Pakistan in any Olympic event.
Her accomplishments don’t end there either. Rubab has taken home several national titles, including a gold medal at Islamic Women’s Solidarity Games and two silver medals and a bronze in the ninth South Asian games.
Ibtihaj Muhammad is the First American Muslim to Compete in the Olympics Wearing a Hijab
Another powerful female Muslim athlete who likes to take the reins within her sport is Ibtihaj Muhammad. In 2016, she became the first American Muslim to compete in the Olympics wearing a sport hijab. Not only that but she is also the first American Muslim to earn a medal.
Unfortunately, in her individual fencing tournament, Ibtihaj only made it into the second round of the fencing tournament. However, there’s no denying that she took home a significantly more powerful title.
Competing in a sport hijab is no easy feat. In fact, it’s often against the rules in competitive sports. The good news is that both of these things are changing and more female Muslim athletes are choosing to compete while wearing a headscarf. Add in the fact that what female athletes wear can drastically affect their ability to compete, and there’s no denying that medal or not, these female Muslim athletes are powerful leaders and winners.