Byline: ADRIAN SCARDILLI
OLYMPIC athletes are usually remembered for the medals they win. Fatema Abdulhameed, a 12-year-old girl from Bahrain, is unlikely to take one home for the 50m freestyle, but her name will live forever as a symbol of women's rights in the middle east. She will become the first female from an Arab gulf nation to compete in an Olympics 104 years after the birth of the modern Games. Speaking to The Sun-Herald from Bahrain yesterday, Fatema said she had trained hard to represent her country and gender. "I did not believe it when I was told I was coming to Sydney," Fatema said. "I'll see how I go. I want to go well for the people in Bahrain and for more women to go to the Games." Fatema will arrive on Wednesday along with Mariam Al Hilli, a female sprinter who will contest the 100m later in the Games. "I'm really charged up and I want to do my best for my country," Mariam said. "But at the same time, more than the pressure to win, I would say there is this sense of being a part of history in the making. I don't think anyone expects us to win we are going as part of Bahrain's new movement to encourage women's sports."