Our show today is as power-packed as our guest when the gun goes off on a run track.
Aziza Sbaity, who has earned the title of the Fastest Woman in Lebanese History, joined us for a chat right after her first track and field training session of the season - as she starts her prep to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Aziza has come out of a very busy first half of the year, winning gold in the 200m sprint at the West Asian Athletics Championships in April, at the Arab Athletics Championship in June, and a silver in the 100m in that race.
That’s not all, she also broke the 100m sprint national record in May – for the SIXTH time - doing the dash in an impressive 11.54 secs.
But it was her performance at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships that left her with a deep introspection, respect for her body and maturity as an athlete – all of which we’ll get into on the show.
Aziza tells us about her move from Liberia to Lebanon at 10, and how being a Lebanese with mixed heritage shaped her childhood, and her views on identity and representation as an athlete.
We discuss what it takes to be an Olympic hopeful in a highly competitive landscape and how, despite the challenges of resources and athlete support, there’s a will to grow access to sports for everyone in Lebanon. It’s also one of the reasons Aziza continues to give back through her community initiatives.
One of them has been her constant collaboration with the Beirut Marathon Association, which has been spearheading the growth of the running community in the country. For those of you who have been following us for a while may remember that I did the Beirut International Marathon, my first one - last year. You’ll hear more about the association’s impact in the episode, and we’ll got links below to our previous episodes on the association.
For us, this chat also turned into a guide to mastering the mind with Japanese concepts of self-reflection and how elite athletes can navigate the pressures of expectations.
Dawn and I are keenly following Aziza’s journey and many endeavors in sports, and you can too by following her on @azizasbaity on Instagram.
To listen to our coverage on the Beirut International Marathon:
🏃🏽♀️The story of unity and peace in the region through running with Francoise Nehme, the director of operations for the Beirut International Marathon.
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