Ibtihaj Muhammad is an African American Muslim and a professional fencer, about the rarest combination to set foot in a fencing match.
She’s caught people’s attention based on that alone, but no one can deny her sheer talent: she earned a spot on the U.S. World Championship Fencing team in 2010 and was an All-American at Duke University in her weapon of choice: the women’s sabre.
WATCH IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD’S INSPIRING STORY HERE:
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The 25-year-old New Jersey native fenced throughout her high school years and never stopped. And her work has paid off: she’s the second-highest ranked fencer in the women’s sabre category.
Muhammad stands out in the ring with her headscarf, and admits being a fencer and Muslim is not always easy.
“Within the fencing community, there’s still a lot of apprehension when it comes to encountering a Muslim fencer,” she told theGrio. “I mean, there are very, very few.”
Ibtihaj Muhammad is making history as… a world renowned fencer. She is ranked 11th in the world in women’s sabre, and, as the Wall Street Journal reported, if she makes the U.S. Olympic team, she may be the first practicing Muslim woman to represent the United States at the games.
What’s next for Ibtihaj?
Muhammad recently gained entry to an open spot on the U.S. Olympic fencing team. The team will compete in the London 2012 Olympic games.
“I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender,” she said on her Olympic team online profile. “I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”
A little-known fact…
Fencing is one of four sports that has been included in every modern Olympic Games since the first games in 1896.
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