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“Day I met first US Muslim woman athlete”, by Stratford student Marion Nsilulu

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 January 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 29 January 2013

American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad gives a talk about her sporting career to the student girls at Sarah Bonnell School. Picture: Isabel Infantes

American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad gives a talk about her sporting career to the student girls at Sarah Bonnell School. Picture: Isabel Infantes

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Olympic sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, also known as the first Muslim woman to compete for the USA internationally, visited Sarah Bonnell School in Stratford yesterday.

American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad receives flowers from students Jessica Tang, left, Racheal Luke, Nishat Tasmin, and Hannah Gujudhar, and Recorder writer Marion Nsilulu at Sarah Bonnell School.American sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad receives flowers from students Jessica Tang, left, Racheal Luke, Nishat Tasmin, and Hannah Gujudhar, and Recorder writer Marion Nsilulu at Sarah Bonnell School.

Marion Nsilulu, in Year Eight, wrote about the experience for the Recorder.

“On Monday January 28, year eight students had the opportunity to meet a member of the United States Fencing Team - Ibtihaj Muhammad.

“This inspirational woman talked about all the challenges she faced in her life and career. She also told us all the things she had to go through to get to the place she is at now.

“I learnt that when Ibtihaj was at school, everyone else would just wear a P.E. top with shorts but as she covers up for her religion she would go out into the field in long sleeved tops and trousers.

“This sometimes made her feel insecure and left out and she didn’t always feel happy about being treated differently because of her appearance.

“As the fencing kit covers the whole body, her mum recommended the sport and Ibtihaj hasn’t looked back.

“In the assembly she showed the audience a video of her fencing. She also talked about her setbacks and accomplishments. We were also lucky to see Ibtihaj’s equipment, kit and also some fencing moves.

“I learnt that Ibtihaj had grown up in a Muslim household and her family were very fond of sports so they encouraged her to take up a lot of clubs and the support and encouragement she received has made her the sportswoman she is today.

“She has really challenged herself throughout her life, made her country proud and hopes to find herself competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

“Ibtihaj Muhammad is an inspiration to us all and she shows us that being different shouldn’t stop you from achieving great things.”


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