Al-Ghasra at the 2009 World Championships
|Arab Athletics Championships|
|2003 Lebanon||100 m|
|2003 Lebanon||200 m|
|Asian Indoor Championships|
|2004 Iran||60 m|
|2004 Iran||200 m|
|2004 Iran||400 m|
|2008 Doha||60 m|
|2006 Doha||100 m|
|2006 Doha||200 m|
Ruqaya Al-Ghasra (Arabic: رقية الغسرة; born September 6, 1982), is a Bahraini athlete. She was one of the first women to represent Bahrain at the Olympic Games, by taking part in the women's 100 metres sprint at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. (Bahraini women had, however, taken part in the Paralympics as early as 1984.)
2004 Olympic debut
ESPN stated that Al-Ghasra "overcame the objections of fundamentalists in her village" to participate. She ran with a head scarf and her body fully covered. She finished fifth in her heat, with a time of 11.49 seconds, and did not advance. A time of 11.43 seconds would have enabled her to qualify for the following round. By 2006, she had improved her time to 11.34 seconds.
In 2004, prior to the Olympics, she won three silver medals, in the 60 metre, 200 metre and 400 metre races, at the Asian Indoor Championships in Iran. She also represented Bahrain in the 400 metre event at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest.
In 2006, Al-Ghasra won the gold medal in the 200 metre race at the Asian Games, in Doha. This made her the first Bahraini-born athlete to win gold at a major international athletics competition extending beyond the Arab world. She also won bronze in the 100 metre race. In 2007, she was scheduled to take part in the Pan Arab Games in Egypt, the Asian Championships in Lebanon and the IAAF World Championships in Osaka. She pulled out of the latter championships due to injury.
In 2008, Al-Ghasra won gold in the 60 metre race at the Asian Indoor Championships in Doha, setting a new championships record with a time of 7.40 seconds.
2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships
She qualified to compete in the 100 metre and 200 metre events at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but only competed in the 200 metre race where she reached the semi-finals. She was her country's flagbearer at the Games' opening ceremony.
At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, she reached the quarter-finals of the 100 m, and the semi-finals of the 200 m, recording season's bests of 11.49 and 23.26 seconds respectively. At the end of the year, she announced her retirement from international athletics at the age of 27, to much surprise. She said that she came to the decision following consultation with doctors and specialists, who advised to take a long period off in order to undergo treatment and improve her general health. However, it was revealed in July 2010 that Al-Ghasra had failed an out of competition doping test and she was banned from competing for two years (between 17 September 2009 and 16 September 2011).
- "Roqaya Al-Gassra", L'Equipe
- "Running into History", ESPN, September 25, 2004
- Bahrain at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
- "From behind the veil", The Age, August 24, 2004
- "SUMMER 2004 GAMES; Free at Last, Islamic Women Compete With Abandon", New York Times, August 21, 2004
- "Navpreet Singh and women's relay team top the list", The Hindu, Juny 26, 2006
- "A first for Bahrain", International Association of Athletics Federation, June 1, 2007
- "Bahrain's Ruqaya Al Ghasara wins Asian Games 200, dedicates victory dedicated to all Muslim women", International Herald Tribune, December 11, 2006
- "Glory for Al Ghasara", Al Jazeera, December 11, 2006
- "Shaheen to miss Qatar Grand Prix", Gulf Times, May 2, 2007
- "Olympic dreams for Al Ghasara", Al Jazeera, February 15, 2008
- AL-Ghasra Ruqaya, Athlete Biography, beijing2008.cn
- "Bahrain gear up for Games", Gulf Daily News, August 1, 2008
- Al-Gassra Rakia. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-08-08.
- Bahraini sprinter Rakia Al Gassra retires for health reasons. All-Athletics (2009-12-17). Retrieved on 2010-08-08.
- IAAF Newsletter - Edition 115. IAAF (2010-07-20). Retrieved on 2010-08-08.