• Amir-Hamza

British Muslims in the Olympics

Updated: Nov 4


Well Tokyo 2020- ugh- 2021 (thanks Covid) has finally taken place and surprise! Team GB's Moe Sbihi became the first British Muslim to bear the olympic flag, So we decided to look at the history of British Muslims who competed for Team GB. What sports they did, what backgrounds they're from and what medals they won for us. Though even if they didn't win medals, they also deserve recognition for putting themselves out there and the hard work they did to get there.


Lutalo Muhammad

Taekwondo

British Zimbabwean

Bronze 2012

Silver 2016

Lutalo Muhammad was born in London to Immigrants from Zimbabwe. He was trained in Taekwondo at the age of 3 by his father Wayne Muhammad. Lutalo would go on to represent the Team GB in 2012 and 2016 winning a bronze and silver respectively. For the Children in Need charity event, Lutalo also performed with other members of Team GB in a Strictly Come Dancing competition and won.


Moe Sbihi

Mohamed Karim Sbihi

Rowing

British Moroccan/English

Bronze 2012

Gold 2016

Bronze 2021

First Muslim flag bearer for TeamGB and Tallest Athlete for TeamGB standing at 6'8" Mohamed Karim Sbihi or better known as Moe Sbihi for short was born to British Moroccan father and English mother in London. He was initially more interested in football and basketball before he became a rower for Team GB. He has represented Team GB in 2012, 2016 and 2021 winning a Bronze, Gold and Bronze again. He was also awarded an MBE in 2017 for his contribution to UK sport. As we know this year he has become the UK's Flag Bearer and this is a milestone as he is the first Muslim athlete to do so for the UK as well.


Amir Khan

Boxing

British Pakistani

Silver 2004

So we have technically already covered Amir Khan in our British Asian Boxing article. Feel free to check out. We still have to acknowledge him as one of the British Muslim athletes that represented Team GB. Winning a Silver medal back in 2004, Amir Khan was only 17 years old and became the UK's youngest ever Olympic medalist. He would move onto professional boxing the following year and become the UK's world champion at 19. So he was definitely at his peak during his late teens and early 20s. He was also considered to be the UK's most iconic British Asian athlete of the time with only a handful comparing to his reputation.



Mo Farah

Long Distance Running

British Somali

Gold 2012 (X2)

Gold 2016 (X2)

Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah CBE OLY. The Somali born British Olympian had an unusual upbringing, having been separated from his identical twin brother Hassan and moved to the UK with his British born and raised Somali father. Mo had to adjust to the new country despite barely knowing a word of English. Mo had aspirations to be a footballer for Arsenal FC or at least a mechanic. but it was his P.E. teacher that noticed his talent for long distance running. Mo won Gold for both the 5000 and 10000 meter run during 2012 and 2016. While he didn't qualify for the 2021. His still left a mark on the UK sporting history as one of our best British olympians of all time.


Imran Sherwani

Hockey

British Pakistani

Gold 1988

Born in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, Sherwani first played hockey at the age of 14 and since then had dreamed of going professional. Luckily for him his Father happened to play Hockey for Pakistan and was the perfect role model to mentor and encourage him much like Latalo's father did for him in Taekwondo. Sherwani was part of the Team GB hockey squad in 1988 when they took home the Gold Medal and he was also selected as one of the Torchbearers for the 2012 Olympic Games in hosted in the UK. In his later ears Sherwani spent his time coaching the next generation of Hockey players in his local area, though sadly as of 2021 he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at age 59.


Mahama Cho

Taekwondo

British Ivorian

Represented Team GB in 2016

Much like Lutalo Muhammad. Mahama Cho was is another British African Muslim athlete whose father was also a Taekwondo fighter. So naturally it shouldn't be a surprise that Cho took after his father in the sport. However Cho was originally more into football as he played semi-professionally for Erith Town FC and event trailed for Dagenham and Redbridge. It was around the age of 17 he switched to become a full time Taekwondo athlete. While he represented Team GB in 2016, he was unsuccessful in acquiring a medal. but still holds victories and accolades in the WTF Grand Prix with 5 bronze medals, 1 silver and 2 golds. He is also a silver medalist in the World Taekwondo Championships.



Kal Yafai

Boxing

British Yemeni

Represented Team GB in 2016

Another British Asian boxer who represented Team GB is Khalid "Kai" Yafai. One of the three Yafai boxing brothers. While he has not won any Olympic medals yet, he is a silver medalist for the European championships and boasts an impressive professional record of 26 wins our of 27 matches.


Qais Ashfaq

Boxing

British Pakistani

Represented Team GB in 2016

Adding to the list of British Asian Muslims repping the olympics is the British Pakistani boxer Qais Ashfaq who may not hold an olympic medal yet but he certainly has his own medal collection, with one bronze medal, 2 silver medals and a gold medal from his bouts in the commonwealth games and European championship respectively. He has since gone professional and has 9 wins out of 10 matches.


Muhammad Ali Saleem

Boxing

British Asian

Represented Team GB in 2016

Another British Asian Muslim boxer in the olympics. Is Muhammad Ali Saleem. We should point out there are in fact 2 British Boxers called Muhammad Ali. So to help distinguish the two, this one is Muhammad Ali Saleem (as his father and grandfather use the surname Saleem), whilst the other one is Muhammad Ali Zahid. Saleem may not have gotten any medals as the olympic boxer but he was noted to be one of four muslim boxers representing Team Gb in Rio.. However lets address a big issue that hit Saleem the following years. In February 2018, Salem was banned from boxing after Trenbolone (an Anabolic Steriod) was found in his urine sample. Whilst Ali Salem denied any attempts that he was intentionally doping he couldn't prove or explain how he had Trenbolone in his system. Whilst the ban only lasted two years, it would lead to Saleem to go professional with the intention of cleaning up his reputation. He has so far won his first two and only tow bouts. Only time will tell where his reputation will lead him.



Adam Gemili

Runner

British Iranian/Moroccan

Represented Team GB 2021

Adam Gemili is another muslim athlete in the olympics. He is also one fo the UK's many African-Asian mixed athletes though in his case he is of Moroccan and Iranian heritage. Adam's athletic career was split between football and sprinting however after 2012, he has switched to sprinting full time. For his athletic career he has won 8 gold medals and 5 silver medals throughout the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth games. While he hasn't won an olympic medal just yet, he is currently the first and only athlete of North African and West Asian origin to break the 10 second barrier for the 100m sprint, clocking in at 9.97 seconds. It also makes him the 101st person ever to do so. He also broke the 20 second barrier for the 200m sprint as well.



Rabah Yousif

Runner

British Sudanese

Represented Team GB 2016

Born in Sudan, Rabah Yousif was also the son of Mohamed Yousif Bakhit who was a 100m and 200m national champion. It is no surprise that Rabah would inherit his father's athletic talents. While he initially competed to represent Sudan. He has trained in the UK since the age of 14 and decide to apply for citizenship. While he was denied several times, he did eventually get married and was granted UK citizenship in 2013 where he was finally eligible to represent Team GB for the Olympic Games. While he hasn't achieve an olympic medal yet, he has won 3 bronze, a silver and a gold medal through the world and European Championships. Before he attained his UK citizenship he actually won a gold, silver and bronze medal in the All Africa Games, African Championships and the Pan Arab games while he was still representing Sudan.


Abdul Buhari

Discus Throw

British Nigerian

Represented Team GB 2012

Born in Nigeria and raised in London, standing at an impressive 6'3" is Abdul Buhari. The British Nigerian Discus thrower. While he hasn't been the most successful athlete on this list, he is a standout being the only discus thrower on the article. His personal best record is 65.44 m throw, which he achieved in 2011. He has represented Team GB in Olympics, the Commonwealth games, the World Championships and the European championships. He also did a ramadan 2012 appeal video for Islamic Releif UK.



Husayn Rosowsky

Fencer

British Egyptian/Ukrainian/English

Represented Team GB 2012

Born in Sheffield, United Kingdom, a very mixed raced Olympian prospect Husayn Rosowsky represented Team GB back in 2012. While he was unsuccessful at bringing back a medal for the UK. He still was a strong competitor in Fencing. He won bronze medals in the Under 17s World Championships and the Under 20s European Championships. He also won the Leon Paul International in London too.



Kamran Panjavi

Weightlifting

British Iranian

Represented Team GB 2004

Whilst Kamran Panjavi was born in Iran. He immigrated to the UK in 1997 around his early 20s. When he gained his British citizenship, he went to represent Great Britain in 2003 World Weight Championships. He for the 2004 Summer Olympics during the 2004 European weightlifting Championships with a total of 255kg. Unfortunately due to a back injury he could not finish but yet we still believe he should be put out there for qualifying in the first place. In 2005, he ranked 8th in the European Championships with a total of 260kg. Since fully recovering from his back injury in 2017, Kamran has opened up a driving school now.

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