Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

22. Sara Khoshjamal

Age: 19

Khoshjamal is the Iranian female heroine of the moment after qualifying for Beijing in Taekwondo. In keeping with Iran's conservative religious rules, Khoshjamal trains and competes wearing a headscarf and a protective helmet and is the first Iranian woman to qualify for the Olympics. Iranian qirls are cheering her on; huge posters of Khoshjamal adorn the Tae kwon do Federation, a popular sport for Iranian females practiced by more than 120,000 girls. Khoshjamal, who in line with traditions is prohibited from training with men, trains in her living room with her older brothers. Last March in Vietnam she beat the world's No. 1, securing her cherished ticket to China.