The first of six Palestinian athletes completed his qualifying heat on Sunday, August 7, 2016. He was listed as Ahmed Gebrel, aged 25, and he swam in the Men’s 200m Freestyle Heats shortly after noon EDT. Ahmed placed 47th, with a time of 1:59.71. This time did not qualify him to go any further, but Palestinians were proud of him for representing them and bringing more attention to the world about the plight of the Palestinian people.
Ahmed Jebreel, 25 years old, was born to an Egyptian mother and a Palestinian father and raised in Cairo. He learned to swim in the famous al-Ahli sports club of the Egyptian capital. Jebreel swam in the 400-meter freestyle event at the 2012 Olympics in London, finishing in 27th place. This year, according to the WAFA news agency, Jebreel will compete in the 200-meter freestyle event. After competing in Rio, he will be the only Palestinian athlete to have participated twice in the Olympics. Though Jebreel holds most of the Palestinian swimming records, he also needed to be invited to the games after he failed to qualify. (Source)
Coming up later this week, we have Mary al-Atrash, 22, a native of Bethlehem. Mary is participating in the Women’s 50m Freestyle heats on Friday, August 12, at noon EDT.
Mary al-Atrash is a 22-year-old native of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. In an interview with Reuters, she said that because there is not even one Olympic-sized pool in the Palestinian territories, she had to settle for training in a 25-meter pool. Atrash will compete in the 50-meter freestyle. She was invited to compete in the tournament. “I am so happy. Representing Palestine in competitions is a dream for any Palestinian athlete, especially the Olympics,” Atrash told Reuters. (Source)