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Jackie Joyner-Kersee receives bronze medal for women’s Olympic long jump final in this 1996 photo. (AP Photo/File)

EL BIREH, West Bank (AP) — American track and field great Jackie Joyner-Kersee is visiting the West Bank, encouraging women in the conservative society to be physically active.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist on Thursday led women through drills jumping over low hurdles, doing sit-ups and competing in a good-natured race.

Most participants wore long pants and yellow T-shirts with the slogan “Run for Health, Run for Hope.” Some wore traditional robes.

The 52-year-old Joyner-Kersee, considered one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, said the women “gave their all.”

Joyner-Kersee won gold in the heptathlon and long jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and gold in the heptathlon at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Underlying Thursday’s playful session is a serious problem — a rise of obesity among Palestinians due to changes in lifestyle and nutrition.

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