Op-Ed: Emirati women’s sports achievements a marker of success

ABU DHABI, Emirati women has proved once again that she is capable of great strides, utilising the support and encouragement of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, to score sporting wins.

From remarkable results in archery and fencing, achievements in jujitsu, boxing, judo and equestrianism, to her unprecedented accomplishments in the fields of volleyball, weightlifting, karate, ice hockey and chess, Emirati women have etched out their story of success and excellence on podiums in all fora.

These days we are proudly following what Emirati women are fulfilling at the sixth GCC Women’s Games organised by Kuwait, and we monitor the honourable performance of the UAE woman and her keenness on achieving excellence to climb podiums and raise the UAE flag in 11 games.

Here, we remember the beginnings of women’s sport in the Gulf region, and also consider, with appreciation and gratitude, the efforts of H.H. Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the champion of karate, taekwondo and jujitsu, in giving the Emirati, gulf and Arab woman lessons in self-confidence. She sets an example for all girls in the UAE and the region to practice sports, and prove themselves in this vital area.

Between the recent past and the present, there has been a tremendous qualitative leap in the field of women’s sports in the UAE. This renaissance is reflected in the figures and reinforced by achievements, and is surrounded by the care and attention of the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima.

Sheikh Fatima’s directives contributed to establishing women’s clubs in various emirates; the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy in Abu Dhabi, and the launch of the International Forum for Women’s Sports hosted by Abu Dhabi periodically, as well as the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Woman Athletes, which is the most expensive and most prominent awards in the world.

The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Woman Athletes is the first award aiming at encouraging Arab women to practice sports by honouring them and celebrating their local, regional, and international achievements. This award reflects Her Highness’s great support to every Arab woman in the field, be she is a player, trainer, manager, or a media personality.

The sporting reality of Emirati women has changed dramatically in a very limited period not exceeding 15 years, as the UAE now has world champions in combat sports, the country also has international judges in most sports, and administrators who hold continental and international positions in many games. Also, the country has 52,000 girls practicing Jujitsu in schools, clubs and national institutions, and win the first places in Asia and the world, and many others like them in various sports.

It is worth mentioning that the UAE women’s Taekwondo team has harvested four medals (one gold, one silver and two bronze) in the GCC Women’s Games, raising the UAE tally to 20.

The UAE teams won four gold medals, six silver and 10 bronze medals while competing in five games. UAE athletes won 11 medals in fencing, four in Taekwondo, two in bowling, two in shooting, and one in handball.

Source: Emirates News Agency