Parents of Queens Track and Field Star Get Ready to Cheer Her On in Olympics
A Queens community is getting ready to cheer on one of their own in this year's Olympics. NY1's Ruschell Boone sat down with the parents of the track and field star.
Nadirah and Askia Muhammad are not packing for just any old trip. They're on their way to Rio to watch their daughter compete in the Olympics.
Dalilah Muhammad is set to run in the first round of the women's 400-meter hurdles on Monday, and words cannot describe her family's excitement.
"I can't really describe the emotions because we have never felt these emotions before," Askia Muhammad said. "But yet at the same token, I have always felt that my daughter had the ability."
Muhammad is a Hall of Famer at Cardozo High School in Bayside and a state, national and world champion. She started running as a little girl growing up in Rochdale Village.
"She would start here and then run into her room and then do like a backwards jump over the broom and onto the bed," said Jamillah Muhammad, Dalilah's sister.
Her high jumps caught the attention of the head of the NY Novas running club when she was just 4 years old on the playground. She joined the club at age 7, but her mother did not want her doing the hurdles.
"I said to the coach, 'My baby cannot be in these hurdles. She is going to hurt herself,'" Nadirah Muhammad said.
George Taylor, coach: She didn't start off too well. She wasn't one of our best hurdlers. She actually had a really bad fall and didn't probably hurdle again until about fourth grade.
Boone: I heard her mom was really upset.
Taylor: Yes, she was. She was. And she actually said she was never going to hurdle again.
But Muhammad and her coach were determined, so her parents got on board, taking her to meets all over the country. They say their daughter's Muslim faith, discipline and talent has taken her all the way to Rio.
"A lot of people don't realize how much work that goes into producing an Olympic athlete," Askia Muhammad said.
Her family and community are now hoping she will bring home the gold for the U.S. A huge watch party is planned here for Monday night.