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Muslim Athlete Dreams to Be First Somali Taekwondo Olympian

  • Practicing taekwondo for 15 years, Munirah Abdiwahid has a new dream
  • More young Muslim girls inspired to join the sport

Fifteen years ago, Munirah Abdiwahid joined her first taekwondo class with her brothers at a local club in London.

Joining the sport at the age of 6, the British-born Somali girl never imagined that her choice would make history.

“What inspires me is I am doing it for girls like me that don’t have the opportunity,” Abdiwahid said in an interview with

“I want to rise to the top and prove that, as a Somali girl with the headscarf, we can do it.”

📚 Read Also: FIFA Celebrates First Hijabi Player, Referee at Women’s World Cup

At the age of 15, she won her first cap for the Somalia national team. Now, she is fighting to become the first-ever taekwondo athlete from her home country to qualify for the Olympics.

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“When I joined the national team, it was kind of like a dream come true in the sense that I got to do what I’ve always dreamed of,” says Abdiwahid.

“I found myself doing competitions I never imagined I’d be doing. Competing with [top] athletes, stepping on the same mats as people I grew up watching… that was a big reality.”

Muslim Athlete Dreams to Be First Somali Taekwondo Olympian - About Islam


Like millions of other Somalis, Abdiwahid’s parents fled their home country, escaping political instability and civil war. Fortunately, she found a community of support in Great Britain.

“We’re quite a taekwondo family,” says the 21-year-old in a chat with just after competing at the 2023 World Championships in Baku, her third time at the global taekwondo event.

“Me and my older brother started it together, and my little two siblings do taekwondo now. My mom did try it too, but she quit early.

“Even at the club that I grew up in, there were a lot of Muslim hijab [wearing] girls, so I didn’t feel out of space when I went to competitions because it was quite normal to have the hijab.”

Her effort is paying off as she has got many support messages, particularly from the Somali diaspora community.

“A lot of girls have messaged me saying, ‘you make me want to take on taekwondo’… Even some parents have messaged me that they will put their daughters in taekwondo club,” shares Abdiwahid who assists with coaching some of the younger girls at her club of the encouraging messages.

“There are many amazing hijabi athletes and I feel like in taekwondo right now we are breaking a lot of the stereotypes.

“I am breaking the narrative of ‘a Somali or a Muslim girl should not do sport’.”