Egypt's Giana Farouk is determined to grasp her chance by both hands as karate makes its debut at the Olympic Games.
The Karate Queen, as the World Karate Federation (WKF) often describes her, is aiming big in Tokyo after a series of achievements on the international level. Karate is one of five new sports that were added to the Games this year.
"I couldn't be happier, it is like a dream come true. My whole life I wished that Karate was an Olympic sport, and when in 2016 we were included in the Games Tokyo 2020, I felt so happy, I said 'This is it, this is my moment, I have to make it," Farouk told the WKF official website.
Farouk, who started practicing karate at the age of six, is one of the top contenders for an Olympic medal. A two-time world champion, she has every reason to believe she can go all the way.
"Thanks Allah, I am one of the top four athletes in my category and here I am, qualified to the Olympic Games!" she said.
"It is not over yet, this is just the beginning. I very much hope that I will be able to win the gold medal at the Games."
The 26-year-old won her Tokyo ticket after finishing second in the Olympic standings in the category of Female Kumite -61kg.
Farouk collected 17 gold medals in her illustrious career, starting with the 2011 Junior World Championship and the 2012 Youth Cup.
The year 2014 proved a turning point for her as she clinched her first senior continental gold medal after winning the African Championship in Senegal. In the same year, she made history by winning gold at the World Championship in Germany when she was only 19.
From then on, winning has become a habit for Farouk, a hijab-wearing athlete who was delighted when the WKF allowed women to wear the Islamic headscarf in 2013.
She won five Karate1 Premier League gold medals, a Junior World Championship gold medal in Indonesia and her second Senior World Championship gold in 2016 Austria.
The last time she reached the top of the podium was in April this year when she won the silver medal of the Karate1 Premier League in Portugal.
The Egyptian Olympic Committee named Farouk as the best female Egyptian athlete of 2020 after she became the first African and Arab karateka to reach the Olympics
She is now a favourite to add a new medal to her remarkable haul that includes 17 gold medals, four bronze and six silver.
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