Brazil’s Olympics ruled by women

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 9 (IANS) Brazilian female athletes are ruling the ongoing Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, leaving men’s teams behind by miles.

On Monday, judoka Rafaela Silva made history by winning the first gold medal of a Brazilian athlete in this edition of the Games – and so far, the only medal in judo, a sport in which Brazilians usually have good results.

Silva, a black woman who grew up on the Cidade de Deus slum, coincidentally located quite near the arena where she was crowned Olympic champion, overcame a number of challenges to be a professional judoka, and faced a string of racist threats when she was eliminated from the 2012 Games in London, which almost made her abandon the sport. Her victory is regarded as an example of how sports can be life-changing for unprivileged children.

In team sports, women are also winning most matches: the football team’s fantastic results, which include a 5-1 victory over the strong Swedish team, are leaving Brazilians proud and loud, reports Xinhua.

The team’s greatest star, Marta, won the FIFA World Player of the Year award five consecutive times; forwarder Cristiane is the highest Brazilian scorer in Olympic Games, including both male and female players; at 38, midfielder Formiga is playing her sixth Olympic Games – she has been in all editions since women’s football was included in the Games.

The fact that the men’s football team is having pitiful performances makes the ladies’ participation even more memorable: internet memes comparing the women’s team star Marta and men’s team star Neymar are abundant in social networks, highlighting her accomplishments and his poor performances.

The volleyball team has so far won two matches, as did beach volleyball teams, and the handball team has had good results as well, beating Romania and the strong Norwegian team, regarded as a favourite for gold. The women’s gymnastics team made the team finals, and two athletes made individual finals.

Brazilians are not the only female athletes thrilling the crowd in these Olympic Games: 18-year-old Yusra Mardini survived an escape from Syria by swimming for three hours to Greece, while she and other three people pushed a sinking boat full of people, saving their lives.

Mardini, who now lives in Germany, competed under the Olympic flag in the refugee’s team, and her life story won her many fans in Brazil.

Other women already made history in this edition of the Olympic Games: judoka Majlinda Kelmendi won the first Olympic medal for Kosovo in Brazil, which does not recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Doaa Elgobashy and Nada Meawad became the first Egyptian beach volleyball players to compete in the Olympics, and played with shirts and pants and even a hijab, in Elgobashy’s case, in a stark contrast from other players, who wear bikinis. The images of the Egyptian team and their adversaries, a German pair, with so different clothes, became a symbol of diversity in the competition.

–IANS

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