Masomah Ali Zada "I'm already a winner against people who think women don't have the right to ride a bike"
Masomah Ali Zada came last in the women's time trial but was in an ecstatic mood and said her reaching the Olympics alone was a defiant message to anyone who does not believe in gender equality. "I said to myself I'm already a winner against people who think that women don't have the right to ride a bike," she told Eurosport.
'They cannot limit women' - Defiant Afghan cyclist Masomah Ali Zada speaks out after Time Trial even
"I participated in the Olympic Games so I've won against them.
My message is for the people who think women don't have the right to ride a bike, they think woman can't do hard things or they want to limit women, my message is a strong answer to them that they cannot limit the rights of women.
"If I could arrive at Olympic Games and participate here today it means women are strong and can do whatever they want.
"And they don't need people to give them their rights. If you don't give us our rights we will fight to get them."
Ali Zada, a refugee from Afghanistan who now lives in France, is a long distance cyclist and revealed she had never raced in a time trial before.
"It was so, so good because it was my first time to do a time trial, it was the first in my life," she said.
I prepared for the long distance but at the last minute we decided to do a time trial. I didn't have any experience but it was so good.
"I'm so, so happy with my race. The most important thing is that I participated as a cyclist and as an Afghan woman. I lived in a country where some people seem to want to limit the rights of women so I'm here and I'm so proud to represent the rights of Afghan women. I'm also so excited for myself to participate in the Olympic Games and the first time trial in my life."
Ali Zada admitted she thought taking part in an Olympics might be beyond the realms of possibility.
"I started cycling in Afghanistan but I was obliged to leave so I came to France. I continued to do cycling in France and I continued and continued because participating in the Olympic games is not easy, you have to train hard, be professional and make a lot of sacrifices," she said.
"It was my dream but I thought it's not possible because it's so hard. But I continued to dream, to work, to continue cycling and today I'm here.
Afghan refugee road cyclist Masomah Ali Zada poses
Image credit: Getty Images
"It's something incredible, I cannot believe it but I'm here.
"It's difficult for me to believe it but I've come to realise that nothing is impossible."
The cyclist also expressed her gratitude to Team Refugee after being denied the chance to represent Afghanistan.
"I wanted to represent my country but as I'm a refugee I couldn't. But I'm so happy to represent Team Refugee and 82 million people
"I send them a message of hope and peace, because they left their countries for different reasons and they are in new countries, new cultures with new people. Everything is new so I send them a message of hope to work hard and study to do sport, to send a positive message to others."
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