Recap: Palestine’s Woroud Sawalha runs the 800m at the Olympics

Palestine’s Woroud Sawalha ran in Heat 5 of the Women’s 800m on August 8. She placed 8th in her heat and 38th overall out of the 40 runners who completed the race. Though she did not advance to the next round, she performed her personal best with a time of 2:29.16.

Sawalha, who stands at 5’5″, was the second shortest athlete in her heat. Her relatively small strides put her at a disadvantage that quickly became evident in the first 200 meters of the race. But Sawalha powered through and caught up to the pack near the end of the first lap.

The extra effort exerted in catching up to the pack meant that fatigue kicked in earlier. She fell behind and eventually finished the race 20.81 seconds behind the race leader. But the extra effort paid off. She performed her all-time best and crossed the finish line to a roar of cheers from the packed stadium.

Sawalha is expected to represent Palestine in future international events, and with her perseverance and determination, she will certainly make her mark in the big leagues.

Below are screenshots of the event footage. For a full replay of the event, click here and begin watching at 2:09:34.


In the first round of the Women’s 800m, Woroud Sawalha is set to represent Palestine in Lane 8.


Sawalha looks down the track as she mentally prepares for her race.


Sawalha, bottom left, stands among her heat’s field of runners.


Moments before the race, an aerial camera captures this view. Sawalha is in Lane 8, the second furthest toward the left.


Sawalha and the seven other athletes round the first set of turns.


Sawalha breaks to the inside of the track.


By the first 200 meters, the race leaders had managed to put a considerable amount of distance between themselves and Sawalha.


Sawalha runs hard to make up the distance between herself and the lead pack.


Sawalha finishes her first of two laps.


The athletes round the corner. The race leaders picked up the pace at this point.


Sawalha chases down Aicha Fall in the final meters of the race.


Sawalha just as she crosses the finish line to loud cheers from the crowd.


Sawalha finishes in 8th place but with the pleasure of knowing that she cracked her previous personal record and set a new one.

For more information on Woroud Sawalha, visit her London Olympics 2012 biography page. For a schedule of all the events in which Palestinian athletes are competing, click here.

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