Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Watch: UAE figure skater Zahra Lari on changing history on the ice

The athlete talks about representing the UAE in Nike's new summer campaign

Zahra Lari is setting out to change history, again.

The Emirati figure skater has spoken out about her dream to represent the UAE in the Winter Olympics.

"Being able to go to the Winter Olympics with a group of women to raise the UAE flag for the first time, that would be my dream," the 24-year-old says in a newly released video.

The video has been created by Nike, as part of the brand's Dream Crazier summer campaign.

This wouldn't be the first time Lari has made history. As we are reminded by a commentator in the video, she was the first woman in history to compete in figure skating wearing a hijab.

In 2012, she was the first woman to compete in an international figure skating competition wearing a headscarf at the European Cup in Canazei, Italy. At the time, she was deducted a point for an "outfit violation". She has since campaigned for the rules to be updated.

She has also championed female representation in sports in the Middle East, and worked to build the women's sporting community regionally.

In the video she adds: "When I started, it was just me. Now we have around 100 Emirati ladies doing the sport."

Not only did she become the world’s first figure skater to compete in a hijab, she was also UAE’s first figure skater to compete in the winter qualifications in 2018, and leading the UAE to become the first Arab state to join the International Skating Union.

On becoming UAE champion, she says: “I set a pretty big goal for myself. And in order for me to reach that goal, it’s important for me to wake up at dawn every day to practice and not complain. Yes, I’m tired, but so is everyone else. A champion is not made by staying in bed. You have to work hard.”

In the video, Lari is wearing the Nike Pro Hijab, which was revealed to be one of the world's most popular clothing items this week.

If Lari achieves her dream, she will represent the UAE in the next Winter Olympics, which are set to take place in Beijing in 2022.

Updated: May 16, 2019 02:39 AM

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