Tunisia’s 3000 metres steeplechase athlete, Habiba Ghribi, is aiming for gold at the upcoming Olympic games in Rio.
The 31-year-old athlete who has started feverish preparations ahead of the summer games explained that early preparation is important.
“Athletics is a poor sport in Tunisia” she said explaining that there are not enough sponsors for the sport as is the case in Europe.
For me I shed tears of joy for the country. It is for the flag. I am happy, I am proud to take this flag and fly it. I feel that I have carried all of Tunisia on my shoulders. And that is a feeling one cannot buy with money.
She further deplored the lack of support for athletes on the continent indicating that “in Europe when they discover that someone has a bit of talent, they will build upon it and make the person become a champion.”
Ghribi who started her athletic career as a cross-country runner, has represented her country four times at the IAAF World Cross Country championships.
In 2005, she switched to steeplechase, coinciding with the event’s introduction to major championships.
Habiba has already made history by becoming the first Tunisian athlete to win medals at both the World Championships and at the Olympics.
She is also the first Tunisian woman in any sport to have won an Olympic medal.
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In spite of the challenges associated with the sport, Ghribi said she is proud to represent her country.
“For me I shed tears of joy for the country. It is for the flag. I am happy, I am proud to take this flag and fly it. I feel that I have carried all of Tunisia on my shoulders. And that is a feeling one cannot buy with money.”
Habiba Ghribi recently won a gold medal in the 3000 meters at the largest indoor athletics competition of Birmingham.
She had previously won a silver medal in the 2011 Athletics World Championships in Daegu and another silver medal in the 3000 m steeplechase competition in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This will be Tunisia’s fourteenth appearance at the Olympic games.
_AFP, News Agencies _