Dana Abdulrazak proud to be in Olympics
After bullets, bombs and red tape, Iraq's Dana Abdulrazak
wins by just taking part in Olympic Games.
Iraq's Dana Abdulrazak, who braved sniper fire and bombs in
order to train and withstood a bid to ban her over Olympic
politics, was a winner just by starting the women's 100 meters
opening heats Saturday.
Never mind the results showed that she
finished sixth in the second heat in 12.36 seconds, 59th overall
in a field of 85, and failed to qualify for the second round.
What they did not show was how much it
meant for her to represent her strife-torn homeland.
"It wasn't important to be first. It was
important to represent Iraq," she said. "I feel very excited.
I'm very proud to be in the Olympic Games. I'm very happy to be
Abdulrazak's participation, and that of
all Iraqi athletes, was in doubt in June when the IOC suspended
Iraq for "political interference" in its national Olympic
committee, sacked in May over corruption allegations.
A deal was struck last month to lift the
ban and that allowed Abdulrazak, 22, to realize the dream that
kept her training day after day while dodging bullets and bombs.
"Once when I was training in Baghdad a
sniper opened fire on me," Abdulrazak said. "There are many
bombs. When you are on the way to the stadium, you don't know
what will happen to you.
"It's very difficult to train in Iraq
because of the bad situations."
The US-led invasion in 2003 have made
simple things like finding a safe place to run difficult, making
Iraq dangerous for everyone in addition to pushing the country
into the edge of civil war, but Abdulrazak vows she will fight
"I will still continue my training and my
sport," she said. "When the sniper opened fire on me, I went
back and trained in the same place 30 minutes later. I will
continue my training, even if there are snipers."
Improving on her time, shy of her personal
best, is important to Adbulrazak.
"I'm not satisfied with the results. It's
not my best time," she said. "I'm also unhappy about what
happened with the politics between the Olympics and the
"I'm really happy to compete in 2008
Beijing. I'm happy. I like this," she said. "I'm the champion