At just 14, Aysha Hussan has already achieved so much, as the New Zealand face on the global Muslim women’s sports powerlist for 2020.
A promising track athlete and netballer, Hussan says she knows it’s “a big achievement” to be on the list with 34 other Muslim women involved in sport around the world.
The teenager sits proudly alongside 400m hurdles Olympic champion American Dalilah Muhammad, and Indonesian climber Aries Susanti, the first woman in the world to climb a speed wall in under seven seconds.
Then there’s Emirati Zahra Lari, the first international figure skater to compete wearing a hijab, and her fellow countrywoman Amna Al Qubaisi, ‘The Flying Girl’, who was the first Middle Eastern woman to test drive in Formula E (that session in Saudi Arabia in 2018 was just months after the country lifted its ban prohibiting all women from driving).
Although she’s yet to rush onto the world athletics stage, Hussan has set herself lofty goals. As well as wanting to be a doctor, it’s her dream to become the first Muslim woman to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games.
“I want to run the 400m,” says the Year 9 student at Botany Downs Secondary College in Auckland. “I have to work hard and keep on striving, then I can get there one day.”