Rabat – Canoeing gold medalist Hind Jamili will represent Morocco at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The 16-year-old female athlete will be the youngest competitor in the canoeing category at Rio 2016, according to Telquel news website.
Hind Jamili qualified to the Olympics after her performance at the 2015 African Canoe Slalom Championships in Nairobi last November.
She won gold and silver medals at the African Championship in Kenya, which qualified her after finishing 3.27 seconds ahead of her compatriot Celia Jodar, the Olympic Qualifiers website noted.
“I saw my coach coming toward me and he jumped in my arms and he said ‘we succeeded’ (…) I called my parents and I knew I was going to the Olympics,” Jamili revealed during a televised interview on 2M.
Hind was born in Oyonnax in the Rhône-Alpes region in France. Her mother is from Tangier and her father, from the Kabyle region, in Algeria.
“Morocco is my country, I am proud to wear its colors, red and green,” the young athlete said.
According to the same source, her coach, David Ikra expressed his joy to coach the Moroccan champion, and praised all the support she receives from everyone.
“I am happy to accompany her on this adventure, everyone follows her, her parents, her family, her school, her country; all this is perfect,” Ikra said.
Preparing for the Olympics is a unique opportunity for any athlete, yet challenging when combined with a full-time school schedule. Hind is still studying in high school and she will not be able to pass her baccalaureate in 2016, the same source noted.
Jamili’s school principal has created a special school-year calendar for her, which will give her more time and allow her to take two years instead of one to finish high school.
The canoeing champion will reportedly train for the Olympic Games in France, before going to Rio de Janeiro for final intensive training ahead of the competition.
Jamili’s 17th birthday will be an unforgettable day for the Moroccan teenager, for it will coincide with Rio 2016’s opening day on August 5.