August 9, 2012 / 4:43 PM / in 5 years

Olympics-Gymnastics-Grandma's sequins for Egyptian debutante

LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) - She finished last but one in a black sequined outfit made by her grandmother but for Egypt’s first Olympic rhythmic gymnast Yasmine Mohmed Rostom it was a proud day for Arab women.

“It is very important that we are here now and competing with all the champions from around the world,” she told Reuters.

Laughing nervously and speaking in halting English after her ground-breaking appearance, she said it was a very special occasion for her. “I am the first Egyptian to do this,” she said.

Asked if reaction back at home in Egypt to her London 2012 showing had been positive, she said: “They are very proud for me.”

“This is the first time that Egypt has qualified in the gymnastics,” she said. “I am representing all Egypt and also Africa to show all the world that Egypt and the Arabs do gymnastics.”

She got a big cheer when the announcer said she was the first competitor from Egypt to appear in the event.

Her two coaches sat in hijabs, or headscarves, either side of the beaming 19-year-old as she waited for her score from the ball tossing and hoop throwing elements of the individual competition.

Asked about the spangly sequined outfit she wore, Rostom said: “My grandmother made it for me.”

Egypt have more than 100 men and women, including synchronised swimmers, competing at London 2012, keen to show they have fielded a team despite the crises that have convulsed the world’s most populous Arab state since the downfall of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak last year.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei have sent women athletes to the Olympic Games for the first time this year.

Editing by Alison Williams

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