RAMALLAH, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Apart from sheer sporting success, there is extra motivation for Palestinian karate athlete Hala al-Qadi to excel in big international events like the Asian Games.
"I am eager to secure a medal in one of the world's most significant sporting events to leave my mark on the world of karate," said the 22-year-old al-Qadi during her daily four-hour training.
"Every night, I dream of hoisting the Palestinian flag after a victory. That's why I'm giving my all, training for long hours daily to be fully prepared for this crucial competition," she added.
According to the Palestinian Olympic Committee, al-Qadi is one of 100 athletes aiming to win medals for Palestine at the 19th Asian Games which will take place in Hangzhou between September 23 and October 8.
Al-Qadi, who claimed silver at the Arab Games in Algeria two months ago, revealed her excitement about representing Palestine in an Asian tournament, as she sees it as an excellent opportunity to raise Palestine's profile.
Al-Qadi's dream of becoming a Palestinian karate idol began at the age of seven. "Since then, I've dedicated myself to honing my skills and bringing honor to myself, my family, school, and neighborhood," she recalled.
She noted that in some competitions, people didn't even know where Palestine was on the map. Determined to change this, al-Qadi aimed to be consistently ranked among the top three in every competition she entered. She is determined to challenge the stereotype that Palestinians are constantly in conflict with Israelis.
"I clinched the top spot in my first-ever Western competition a few years ago," she said. "Raising the Palestinian flag for the first time in my life, I felt a responsibility to become an ambassador for my country."
Today, al-Qadi is a star in kata and freestyle fighting. She continues to make extraordinary efforts to maintain a high level of performance to represent Palestine internationally.
"Now, I can confidently say that Palestinians, women, men, and children, cherish life and are striving for peace while pursuing their goals across all aspects of life," she emphasized.
Al-Qadi has indeed left her mark on Palestinian karate, winning numerous medals, according to her coach, Ismail Warda. "We have high expectations for Hala's performance in the Asian Games competition due to her exceptional athletic abilities and skills," the coach noted.
Nader Jayousi, the head of the Palestine Asian Games delegation, believes that participating in such a significant tournament offers Palestinian athletes a golden opportunity to showcase their professionalism and sporting prowess to the world.