To be the first person of the Muslim faith is just a huge honour and hopefully can inspire the younger Islamic nation back home in the UK, said Mphamed Sbihi
TOKYO — Rower Mohamed Karim Sbihi made history on Friday, becoming the first Muslim to carry the British flag at an Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo. He was joined by another gold medalist, the sailor Hannah Mills.
It is the first time that two competitors are allowed to carry the flag after the International Olympic Committee announced last year that each national Olympic committee could nominate one female and one male athlete as flag bearers.
It was a proud moment for the 33-year-old Sbihi, who is gold medal-winning rower, as he said this is a a huge honour for him which will inspire younger Islamic nation back home in the UK.
“To be the first person of the Muslim faith is just a huge honour and hopefully can inspire the younger Islamic nation back home in the UK, and for anybody out there, to show that you know what, just a normal kid can be at the top of their own sport or Olympic sport,” Sbihi told media.
“I feel like I have lived that journey. That’s been a little bit of my fairytale, this is just another little chapter in that.”
“It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement — people remember those images. I certainly remember the images of Andy from Rio and even before I was a rower I remember seeing Sir Matt and Sir Steve, so it is something I am incredibly proud of,” Sbihi further said.
“We need more representation and hopefully this starts that process of getting young Muslim kids involved in all types of sport.
“I was in London and Rio to see Mo Farah win his medals as a refugee who came to the country very young and as a practicing Muslim. That was inspiring,” he said talking to the Independent.
Olympic Games which began on Friday in Tokyo will see 11,324 athletes from 206 countries competing in the games. The athletes will compete for medals in 339 events overall.