JEDDAH — Jasmine Alkhaldi may be half-Saudi, but she is getting full support from her Saudi fans via Twitter. Alkhaldi is representing the Philippines in the London Olympics, competing in the 100-meter freestyle event. Good-luck messages and declarations of support have been pouring in over the last few days via the social networking site for the 19-year-old Olympian, who is a student at the University of Hawaii.
Messages ranged from earnest to spirited. A certain Khalid (_@khalidsaudi) from Riyadh tweeted: “We hope you win an Olympic Medal. A lot of people from Saudi follow you, and We wish you the best. Go for gold Jasmine.”
Hend (@Hxend), also from Riyadh, tweeted: “YOU GO Jasmine Alkhaldi!!! best of luck champion. #LondonOlympics”
“I want to see jasmine alkhaldi tomorrow lol,” Sumaya (@ Sumaya1D) from Riyadh tweeted.
Other tweeters like Selwan (@Selwan_) wished that Alkhaldi could have represented Saudi Arabia: “Filipina/Saudi swimmer. wish she were part of #KSA team in #Olympics2012 . She holds a Saudi name!”
Support has come from other parts of the Kingdom. Ali A. AlQahtani (@AliAbdullah_Q) from Abha wrote: “Jasmine AlKhaldi, a filipino olympic swimmer, her father is a #Saudi.. Follow her” and posted a magazine cover photo of the swimmer.
One Saudi from Jeddah messaged her in Tagalog, saying: “Dear Jasmine, nagulat ako na ikaw ay half-Saudi. Galingan mo, sana manalo ka ng medal. Suportado ka naming mga full Saudi!” (“Dear Jasmine, I was surprised that you are half-Saudi. I hope you do well and win a medal. You have our full support!”)
Alkhaldi’s Filipino fans were also pleased that she had Arab fans. Ezekiel Mendoza (@ezekielmendoza) tweeted: “Good to see na khit Philippines ang nirerepresent ni Jasmine Alkhaldi. Supportive din ang mga arabs.” (“Good to see that even if Jasmine Alkhaldi is representing the Philippines, Arabs are also supportive [of her].”)
Ronald Castro, a 28-year-old Filipino design engineer based in Jeddah, said that he was pleasantly surprised to learn that a Saudi-Filipino female swimmer is competing in the Olympics. “I wish she could have represented both Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, although if she were full-blooded Saudi perhaps she could not have competed as a swimmer. In any case, I think she will make two nations proud, win or lose.”
On her Twitter account @jsmnalkhaldi, Alkhaldi thanked her Arab fans. "Oh. I can’t understand and speak Arabic but THANK YOU so much for all your tweets of support :) I will definitely do my best #fyi."
Alkhaldi was born to Mohammed Alkhaldi and Susan Paler in the city of Parañaque in the Philippines, according to her University of Hawaii Athletics Department profile page. She hails from Laguna province, where she graduated from Trace College in Los Baños in 2011. She has an older sister and a younger brother. She plans to major in marketing, the page also said.