A 15-year-old Palestinian girl won an international award for horse riding in Bahrain on Tuesday.
Leila Malki from occupied Ramallah was awarded the “Against All Odds” prize by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).
The teen began riding when she was just five-years-old in the occupied West Bank where she lived all her life, she said her win is a way to break taboos for women and has become the first Arab female to win the accolade.
“I’ve been through a lot challengers and a lot of borders in front of me,” Leila said, adding: “but I’ve believed in myself and I’ve had confidence to achieve my goals and I’d like to tell every woman out there, if you have a dream if you have a goal go ahead and do it.”
“She travels as far as Colombia and Morocco with no trainer or support team, only herself and her Dad. She is a perfect example that if you have determination and passion”, FEI said of her.
Her passion and determination to overcome the challenges facing a young female rider in Palestine has led Leila to actively work towards the promotion of the sport. She volunteered helping young children and those with special needs start riding for the first time.
Palestinian are often hindered in pursuing sports by occupation forces which regularly bars athletes from travelling to represent Palestine in the international arena.