Olympic Profile

Hayat Farag, Egypt, Wrestler

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Win or lose, Egypt's leading female wrestler plans to go to Mecca on pilgrimage after competing in the Beijing Olympics.

And win or lose, Hayat Farag, 20, plans to leave the sport.

Farag grew up in the religiously conservative Egyptian city of Alexandria, where, she says, society expects women to do no more than finish school, marry and start a family.

"I wanted to break that rule," she recently told the monthly magazine Egypt Today.

But Farag also is a devout Muslim and believes the skintight uniform she has to wear to wrestle is an affront to female modesty.

So while she loves the sport, she says, Beijing will be her last time on the mat. She will be the first Egyptian female wrestler to compete in the Olympics.

-- Ellen Knickmeyer

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