Rio Olympics 2016: Ibtihaj Muhammad wins historic first fencing match

Sporting News
The 30-year-old won her women's individual sabre match, the first in which a U.S. competitor wore a Muslim head scarf called a hijab.
The 30-year-old won her women's individual sabre match, the first in which a U.S. competitor wore a Muslim head scarf called a hijab.

American Ibtihaj Muhammad opened her historic appearance at the Rio Games on Monday by defeating Olena Kravatska of Ukraine, 15-13, in the women's individual sabre fencing competition.

Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympian to compete in a hijab (a Muslim head scarf), rallied repeatedly in the match to advance to the table of 16. She ended up losing the table of 16 match, 15-12, to France's C├ęcelia Berder.

The 30-year-old fencer entered her first Olympics as world No. 8 and already is one of the faces of Team USA in Rio.

The native of New Jersey didn't even start fencing until middle school, and she is the second-oldest member of the U.S. fencing team, behind four-time Olympian and twice sabre champion Mariel Zaguni.

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