Up, up she goes… not just physically but literally. Over a long horizontal bar, she keeps pushing herself to reach higher and higher records until she reached 1.82 meters so far! This amazing champ is Passent Mossad Herky; a lady of many many interests and talents. She recently won first place in High Jump at the French Athletics Championships. “I felt proud of myself and it gave me a huge push because I felt like I was making even more progress than I had in a while,” says the 26-year-old.
Her journey goes way back to when she was just a ten-year-old running the track at a sporting club and a trainer stopped her to let her know that she would be the perfect fit for a high jumping athlete. ‘Sweet and simple’, Passent describes her start in the competitive sport. The universe is weird like that. In that same year, Passent went on to break Egypt’s record in
high jumping when she won her first championship. By the age of 13, Passent was asked to compete in leagues of older ages given how she outperformed those in her own age range easily.
Being an icon in the high jumping world of Egypt isn’t the only thing she’s perfected in her spare time. When she’s not a producer, she is a fitness class trainer teaching cardio, pole dancing, flexibility, aerial arts, and body attack.
Based on her experience with highjump, things haven’t always been easy as a woman in a male-dominated field. Yet, she can avoid challenges by immersing herself in the Olympic community where everybody understands one another. Passent shared that one of the challenges she faced was rebelling against Western beauty standards until recently. She says, “I used to straighten my hair up until 2 years ago. I started looking at people’s hair transformation pictures on social media and asked myself why I couldn’t do the same. I told myself I wouldn’t be shy or ashamed. I began to wear my hair like that in championships.”
Things are different now for Passent, people are now fascinated with how she does her hair during champions. “In Egypt, people can be very racist, judgmental and rating your beauty based on how fair you are and how straight your hair is. But now I feel things are changing. I’ve noticed how people shifted from mocking my appearance to celebrating it. ‘It went from what have you done to your hair? to ‘Wow! Your hair looks cute.”
Many girls face scrutiny in sports and Passent is no different. She is sometimes judged for how she dresses, how she eats, and how much she values high jumping. But that didn’t stop her!
Passent sends a heartfelt message to young female athletes and says: ‘Commit yourself! It doesn’t matter what people think! Be patient when chasing your dream. It’s important to do what you love. You’ll be so proud of yourself when you follow your instinct and get a beautiful outcome because of it.’
Interview by: Jaidaa Taha
Written by: Yosr Abdel Bary