COLORADO SPRINGS - Former Duke All-America and two-time World medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad was honored by the Muslim Women's Sports Foundation when she was named International Sportswoman of the Year in London on Wednesday night at Wembley Stadium. Muhammad was chosen from an international pool of nominees from Great Britain, Iran, the United States and Afghanistan.
Muhammad was a three-time All-America selection and three-time NCAA qualifier at Duke from 2004-06. Competing on the international saber fencing circuit since graduation, she won bronze in the team event at both the 2011 and 2012 World Chamionships and captured sixth place at the Saber World Cup in Italy on May 6. She ranks third in the United States points standings.
"I feel so honored to be named International Sportswoman of the Year. I never imagined when I started fencing that I would be blessed to accomplish so much. I began fencing because of the modest clothes and I have loved fencing from the very first moment I picked up a sabre," said Muhammad who picked up the sport because fencing allowed her to wear the Muslim hijab while she competes. "I love that it allows me to be fiercely competitive and tactical, but, most of all, I love that it doesn't comprise my faith."
Muhammad placed as high as sixth at the NCAA Championships during her Duke career and was the first Duke fencer to earn multiple All-America honors. She posted a career record of 127-15 during her three seasons at Duke and claimed NCAA finishes of ninth (2004), 11th (2005) and sixth (2006).
"It was such an amazing event! There was tons of press and I felt like I did a million interviews," Muhammad said. "I pray that my achievements pave the way for other minorities that come after me. I hope my story inspires them to dream big and never allow their religion, race or gender hinder them from accomplishing their goals. My hijab and religion brought me to a sport I never would have discovered otherwise and I am thankful every moment of every day."