Palestinian swimmer Mary Al-Atrash cannot wait to make a splash at the Rio Olympics

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Atrash will be one of six Palestinians competing in Rio and the delegation will be the largest Palestine has sent to the Games since its first participation in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996. Five competitors appeared in London in 2012.

“I am so happy, representing Palestine in competitions is a dream for any Palestinian athlete, especially the Olympics,” Atrash told Reuters.

The 22-year-old university graduate’s preparations have been hampered because she does not have an Olympic-sized pool to train in. There are none in the Palestinian territories and she has to settle for a 25-meter pool.

She also has no training partners and relies only on her coach, Musa Nawawra, with occasional travel to competitions abroad.

“Preparations are going well, and considering the resources we have… we are able to achieve our best and set goals and ambitions,” Atrash said.

Nawawra was also upbeat, despite the lack of adequate training conditions.

“I am very happy that there is someone from Palestine who will represent us in the Olympics. This is something to be proud of, especially with the limited resources we have,” he said.

Read Reuters

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