History making Ghribi wins for ‘new Tunisia’

History making Ghribi wins for ‘new Tunisia’

LONDON - Hürriyet Daily News
History making Ghribi wins for ‘new Tunisia’

Habiba Ghribi (R) becomes the first female athlete to win an Olympic medal for Tunisia. Ghribi finished the women’s 3000m steeplechase second behind Garipova. AFP

Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi came second in the London Games behind Russia’s Yuliya Zaripova in the women’s 3000m steeplechase to become the first female athlete to win an Olympic medal from her country.

Ghribi clocked nine minutes 8.37 seconds to come second behind Zaripova, who finished the course in 9:06.72 to make history for Tunisia.

The 28-year-old middle-distance runner dedicated her medal to ‘the new Tunisia,’ the birthplace of the Arab Spring. “I am very proud to offer this first Olympic medal to the new Tunisia, the Arab world and Tunisian women,” an emotional Ghribi said to the reporters after the race. “I opened a grand door, what I achieved was so important.”

This was a steady rise to glory for Ghribi, who became the first Tunisian female athlete to win a medal in the world championships after her runner-up finish in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final in Daegu, South Korea. However, she had to overcome stiff injuries to come to London.

“It is very important that I come to realize because I lived a very difficult moments because of injuries and I am very happy to have overcome all this,” she said.
Arguably the most prolific female athlete in the Arab world, Ghribi knew she was shouldering the Arab world’s expectations in London.
“The whole of Tunisia as well as the whole of the Arab world is expecting something from me,” she has said before the Olympics. “I will try to do something nice for my country, but equally for the Tunisian woman.”
Ghribi delivered Tunisia’s second medal in London. The first medal came from Oussama Mellouli, who clocked 14:40.31 to win a bronze medal in men’s 1500m freestyle swimming. k HDN