Abu Taleb's success inspires other Saudi athletes. WORLD TAEKWONDO

Donia Abu Taleb has become the first female taekwondo athlete from Saudi Arabia to qualify for the Olympic Games. She reached the final of the women's -49 kg category at the Asian Qualifying Tournament to book her place at Paris 2024.

Shaddad Al-Omari, president of the Saudi Taekwondo Federation, was not surprised by the athlete's success, reports Arab News. "It is a natural feeling for a national achievement that we have been looking for many years. 

Donia Abu Taleb worked hard and suffered, we suffered with her. It is, in short, (the joy of a homeland) for an extraordinary, historic achievement by a Saudi woman who wants to say to the whole world in Paris, 'I am here and I am the daughter of this generous homeland,'" Al-Omari said.

Abu Taleb won a bronze medal at the Arab Taekwondo Championship Cup in 2022, one of the young athlete's first achievements. "The dream has come true with the achievement of our hero Donia Abu Taleb, but I always say that to be realistic and honest, making an Olympic champion requires concerted efforts from many sides, including the family, the school and the neighbourhood where the athletes live," Al-Omari said.

He is sure that Abu Taleb's success will inspire other athletes. "A few years ago, we had only 10,000 registered athletes, but now we have reached about 70,000 and we are aiming for 100,000 athletes in the near future," Al-Omari concluded.