19-year-old Mariam Farid is one of Qatar’s most promising young female athletes with high ambitions of achieving success on the world stage. The full-time university student and member of Qatar’s national athletics team wants to be an inspiration to young females from Qatar and across the region, and to challenge perceptions of Qatari women’s sport participation.
Mariam’s immediate focus is on the upcoming Doha Diamond League on Friday 5th May where she will be competing in the 100m and 4x100m relay. The young sprinter and multiple national record-holder cannot wait to compete in front of a home crowd amongst the sport’s global superstars and believes that this will provide an added boost to her performance:
“Participating in front of this huge crowd, in front of my people and everyone I know, and in my home country motivates me to run faster and show the best that I can do. It is something I have to be very proud of.”
However, for Mariam it is more than just her personal performance that is important at the Diamond League – she also feels that hosting the event in Doha provides an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on women’s sport in Qatar:
“We have to show the younger generation that Arab women in Qatar and across the GCC can do sports and that there are girls from Qatar playing athletics and competing in the Diamond League. We do train every day, and we work hard to achieve our goals.”
Mariam’s most recent success came at the GCC Women’s Games in Doha, where she claimed silver and bronze medals. She feels that the all-female event is very important for the region because “it shows how girls are improving and how their countries are empowering them to come and play sport internationally”. Whilst not her best result in terms of podium finishes, Mariam accounts her fourth place finish at the 2014 West Asian Championships when she was just 16 as her favourite achievement because “it was a very good result for my age that year and it motivated me to train harder, work harder and do better.”
A highly ambitious athlete, this motivation spurred Mariam to dream of one day becoming the best in the world: “My biggest ambition is to be a World Champion and an Olympic Champion. It is a matter of training hard and believing in yourself”.
This ambition is supported wholeheartedly by her family, a factor she sees as crucial to her success and something that helps to encourage her to achieve her dreams:
“My family is very supportive in athletics and me going to training every day. I think without their support, I wouldn’t be in the national team. My father always says to me, ‘one day you are going to be a World Champion’ and he motivates me to train and to work hard.”
An ultimate dream of Mariam’s is to compete in her sport’s biggest event in front of a home crowd when the Doha hosts the World Championships in Athletics in 2019: “I’m waiting for this day to compete in 2019 here in Qatar because it is something I worked hard for”. At just 16, Mariam was a member of the Qatari team that successfully bid to bring the World Championships to the Middle East for the first time in history and describes it as “the best experience of my entire life and something I will always be proud of”.
In the final decisive presentation to her sport’s decision makers, Mariam made a compelling speech in French, her third language, about the impact that she felt hosting the world’s third largest sporting event would have on the perception and development of women’s sport across the Middle East, and this is something that Mariam continues to strongly promote:
“We want to show the world that wearing the hijab does not mean that we cannot compete internationally. We do exist as athletes and we are able to compete and achieve our goals. We want to make people proud of our culture, our traditions and everything that we do.”
Two and half years later and Mariam is now a student at Northwestern University in Doha where she is studying Communications whilst juggling two hours of athletics training every day, except Fridays. She feels that this is possible thanks to the support from both her university and the Qatar Olympic Committee: “whenever I have an important competition, my university always supports me, and whenever I have exams I have the support of the Olympic Committee”.
Despite the huge pressures that come with such a gruelling schedule, it has become a “lifestyle” for Mariam and she feels that “nothing is hard when you enjoy doing something”. It is this passion for athletics and her ambitions that drive her daily determination and commitment:
“What makes me wake up every day and go to training is that I have a goal - I want to achieve something and I want to build a legacy. I want to change and improve women’s sport and I want to make Qatar proud. I love athletics because it teaches you to be independent, it improves your self-confidence, and it makes you responsible as a person.”
Mariam will be competing in the Doha Diamond League at 17:55 on Friday 5th May at Qatar Sports Club, alongside multiple Olympic and World Champions. Tickets are on sale now at https://goo.gl/jwp3Pi to watch Mariam and her fellow Team Qatar athletes, and Mariam is hoping for the support of the nation as they bid to make Qatar proud:
“It is a fantastic event – everyone can come and see Olympic champions, as well as experience and learn what athletics is, so it is going to be a very fun night. I wish everyone to buy their tickets, to come down and to support Qatar’s ladies team!”
You can keep up to date on all news about Mariam and all other athletes participating on the Diamond League website and social media channels.
If you have anything you want to share with us, send us an e-mail at [email protected]!
Want to send a tip? Drop us an e-mail at [email protected], anonymity is guaranteed!
You have successfully registered your account!Please confirm your e-mail address by clicking on the URL sent to you.The e-mail usually arrives in 5-10 minutes.
How ajeeb was that!? Thanks for contributing to our community! Your post will appear after we take a quick look!