Sana'a Abu Bkheet, the first Palestinian female athlete struggles during her preparations for the Olympics in Athens.
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19 years

When Sana’a Abu Bkheet first started training seriously three years ago in her hometown of Deir al-Balah, eight miles south of Gaza City, she was the target of stones and ridicule from boys who had never seen a girl running through the sandy streets of her traditional, conservative community. But Abu Bkheet’s mother, Amnah, a former athlete herself, went door-to-door to inform neighbors. Harassment has long since turned to encouragement, though there are still hardships aplenty. One obstacle to becoming a top-flight track athlete in Gaza is that there is no track, just a sandy road. With a personal best of 2 minutes 28 seconds, a half-minute away from world-class time, Abu Bkheet will not be a medal contender at Athens. Her goal is simply to meet Maria Mutola, the Mozambican who has dominated the 800 for a decade, not to defeat her.




800 meters women

In the first round Sana’a Abu Bkheet finished in 2:32:10 and did not advance. She became 42nd overall out of 42 runners.
The final was won by Briton Kelly Holmes, who ran a tactical race, coming from the back of the field. Hasna Benhassi of Morocco and Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia took Silver and Bronze respectively, and beating defending champion Maria de Lurdes Mutola of Mozambique who finished fourth.