Meet the Emirati girl who won a gold medal against Russian gymnasts

meet the emirati girl who won a gold medal against russian gymnasts

Lamia Tariq Malallah celebrates after winning the gold medal. — Supplied photo

Lamia Tariq Malallah, the only Emirati female rhythmic gymnast in the UAE, is over the moon after producing a gold-medal winning performance in the recent Gymnastika Solo Cup at the Al Nasr Club in Dubai.

The Gymnastika Solo Cup drew some of the best gymnasts from Europe with Russia and Belarus sending their national teams.

It was against such an elite lineup of gymnasts that the 13-year-old Lamia came up with an inspired display to claim the gold medal.

“I am very happy with the gold medal, it means a lot to me because it came in a very tough competition,” Lamia told the Khaleej Times on Thursday.

“It was hard because I was up against gymnasts from the Russian national team, their gymnasts train more than I do. They train 8-9 hours a day, I train only four hours a day.

“And they train every day. They are so strong and so good. But I just remembered that I need to have the belief in myself and do my best. And I am very happy that I was able to do well for my country.”

The gold medal at the Gymnastika Solo Cup has now inspired Lamia to qualify for big events.

“Of course, it’s a big responsibility for me to represent my country in gymnastics. No other female Emirati gymnast has ever done it,” said Lamia who trains at Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics.

“It’s a big responsibility. But this is my goal, this is what I want to do, I want to go to big events, I want to go to the world championships, I want to go to the Asian Games, hopefully, this (the gold medal at the Gymnastika Solo Cup) is just the start.”

A grade seven student at the International School of Choueifat (Dubai Investment Park), Lamia says it’s not easy to find the balance between gymnastics and school.

“How do I maintain the balance? Well, there is no secret, I am in Grade seven. It has started to get really hard in math and science,” she said.

“So it’s difficult to focus on both, gymnastics and school. But yeah, my mother (Malak Alfarsi) has always encouraged me to focus more on gymnastics,” she said.

Alfarsi, who has dedicated her life to gymnastics in a bid to help Lamia chase her dreams, hoped the gold medal at the Gymnastika Solo Cup would propel the youngster to greater heights.

“Lamia competed very well with top-level gymnasts from Russia. She is a very hard-working child, she has big dreams of competing in the biggest events for her country,” she said.

“Hopefully, this gold medal will motivate her to continue working hard in gymnastics so she can fulfil all her dreams!”

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