Palestinian Archers Aim to Compete in 2024 Olympics
Two Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip, Ahmed al-Zahhar, 37, and Wasim Naief, 35, aspire to represent Palestine in the 2024 Olympic Games in the sport of archery, despite facing significant challenges. Due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Strip, bows and arrows cannot be imported and must be made locally. “We resorted to the websites specialized in making bows to learn how to make them locally,” al-Zahhar told the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua. “We also communicated with international experts on social media to make sure that our design meets the Olympic standard by sending pictures and the materials that we use,” he says. Naif adds, “We must pay attention to every millimeter of the thickness of the ends and the central piece.” Their interest in archery is not disconnected from Arab nationalism and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “We are obsessed with the sport as Arabic heroes used archery bows in their wars against enemies,” says al-Zahhar. In 2021, the two men joined the Palestine Athletic Federation and represented Palestine in an archery championship held in Iraq.