Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

All-Arab women

The director of the Arab Women Sports Tournament unveiled the details of the event to be held in the UAE next month, reports Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Under the slogan ‘Your World, Your Court’, the third edition of the Arab Women Sports Tournament will be held in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, from 2-12 February. The 10-day event will see 47 clubs from 15 Arab countries taking part in eight sports: basketball, volleyball, shooting, fencing, table tennis, archery, athletics and show jumping.

At a press conference held at the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Cairo, tournament director Nada Al-Nakbi officially invited Egyptian clubs to take part, delivering the official invitation to Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz.

So far, two Egyptian clubs are taking part in the fencing and archery events, Sporting and Ittihad Al-Shorta. “There is still time before the tournament begins and I believe two other clubs, Gezira and Wadi Degla, are considering going,” Abdel-Aziz said.

He added that Arab sportswomen deserve to be fostered for all their efforts and results. “Arab sportswomen have become world and Olympic champions. They have defeated all the obstacles they faced until they became champions. The Arab tournament is a big event and we believe that the third edition will be a spectacular and outstanding event,” Abdel-Aziz added.

Al-Nakbi briefed the audience on the history of the event.

The tournament has been biennial since its launching in 1997. It was initially recognised as a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) clubs tournament. During its massive success, it attracted several clubs from other Arab countries which expressed their desire to participate.

“In light of this progress, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohamed Al Qasimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah and chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, envisioned expanding the tournament to a larger scale by including Arab countries, therefore, making it the biggest, if not the only one of its scale, in the region,” Al-Nakbi said

The inaugural tournament kicked off with five sports in 2012, including basketball, volleyball, table tennis, shooing and athletics and brought in archery and fencing in the second edition in 2014 with over 900 players from 54 clubs from 13 countries.

“This year, 2016, we welcome the third edition of the tournament with the long- awaited addition of show-jumping, making a total of eight sports.” Al-Nakbi added.

Al-Nakbi pointed out the main goals of the event. “It is a unique chance for sportswomen to raise awareness and change the societal views and perception about female athletes; refine the skills of Arab and Gulf female athletes in different sports; support female athletes to pursue a profession in their field of interest; stimulate the spirit of competitiveness among Arab female athletes in individual and team sports; promote a healthy sporting spirit and fair competition as a primary element for the representatives of this tournament; and spread knowledge about the positive impact of sports and athletics on one’s health.”

Al-Nakbi told Al-Ahram Weekly that the organisers plan to invite international figures from the IOC to attend the event. “It is important for us to show them how Arab women sports have developed in the region. They should witness the event to see for themselves how our sportswomen have reached world-class standards in competitive sports. We also intend to invite previous Arab sportswomen who were Olympic medallists as role models for the women,” Al-Nakbi said.

On the sidelines, the tournament will also host the first conference for women sports media. More than 40 sports journalists are expected to attend the one-day gathering where they will have the chance to share and exchange their work experiences.

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