Libyan swimmer Daniah Hagul – the only female on Libya’s 2016 Olympic squad – is one of many Olympians with extra weight on her shoulders ahead of this summer’s Olympics. With political turmoil affecting her country, the national swimming federation could not afford to fully cover the expenses of Hagul’s trip to Brazil. Hagul thus took matters into her own hands, relying on people’s generosity, and crowdfunded her way to the Rio Olympics.
Hagul said it is an honor and a privilege to represent her country at the games. She hopes to make Libya proud and inspire Libyan girls to take up swimming, regardless of social constraints. But she is particularly looking forward to meeting the world’s most inspirational swimmers.
‘‘I can’t wait to meet other swimmers from all over the world and especially looking forward to seeing Michael Phelps in action and meeting Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer, forming part of the Refugee Olympic Athletes Team,” said Hagul. “Her story, resilience and determination are such admirable and inspirational qualities.”
second Libyan swimmer, Ahmad Attellesey, will compete at the Rio Olympics via a Universality ticket, after being invited to the men’s 50-meter freestyle race.
This marks Libya’s fifth participation in an Olympic swimming tournament since the nation made its Olympic debut at the Mexico 1968 Olympics.
Hagul and Attellesey will raise the Libyan flag in Brazil alongside athlete Mohammed Hariz, rower Hussein Qanbor, judoka Mohamed El-Kawisah, taekwondo competitor Yousef Shriha and archer Ali El-Ghrari. These Libyan Olympians have their eyes set on the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal.