Mayada Al-Sayad is only 23-years-old but is certainly no stranger to the race-track. Born on October 26, 1992 al-Sayad is the daughter of a German mother and a Palestinian father, and holds dual citizenship.
Al-Sayed attributed her desire to compete for Palestine to her dad’s acquaintance who works in the Palestinian embassy in Berlin. She said, “I don’t have political but only sporting reasons to compete for Palestine.”
It has been a fervent desire of al-Sayad be the first woman to run a World Championship marathon for Palestine. She trained at a sports club on Berlin’s Avenue of the Cosmonauts
Regarding her hope of running in the Rio Olympics, al-Sayad said, “I want to experience the adventure and the atmosphere in a super field.” She will be the first Palestinian athlete to run in the 42km marathon at an Olympics. She was also the flag-bearer for the Palestinian team at the opening ceremony.
She qualified for the games in Rio by finishing a Hamburg Marathon in 2015 in 13th place, with a time of in 2:41:44, well under the qualifying time of 2:45:00.
At the 2015 World Athletics Championship in Beijing, China, she finished 50th out of 67 runners
While al-Sayad’s trip to China was paid for by the Palestine Olympic Committee, she is mainly sponsored by her father who runs a dental equipment company.
Her coach, Tobias Singer has said, “Mayada has a lot of potential but she isn’t a pro.”
Apart from long-distance marathons, al-Sayed also competes over shorter distances – she was placed eighth over 5km at the recent German championships. Although she has the speed to run sprints, she insists “I will stay with the marathon”.