Fifteen-year old Inas Nofal is Gaza’s first and only competitive female runner, according to Al Jazeera. “Running is my life,” says the teen athlete. “Before I go to sleep, I think about which routes I’ll run the next day.”
Though Nofal dreams to win international competitions, the reality is that resources are extremely limited in Gaza. Last month, Nofal suffered a blow when she was denied a travel permit to attend the Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem.
Despite the setbacks, Inas’ spirit is not broken. She has the support of her coach, and her father, Mahmoud, who follows his daughter in his car as she practices running on the street. Mahmoud hopes his daughter’s passion will change how some in the society view athletic girls and women. “Some people object to girls running and say bad things. It upsets me, but I try to hide it from Inas, because I don’t want it to discourage her from her dream.”