Monday,23 April, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)
Monday,23 April, 2018
Issue 1378, (25 -31 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

A thousand female athletes

Almost 70 clubs from 17 nations, including Egypt, will participate in an Arab women’s sports tournament in the UAE, reports Inas Mazhar

 

Arab women’s sports tournament
Arab women’s sports tournament

The Supreme Organising Committee (SOC) of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) has announced the final details of its fourth edition scheduled to kick off on 2 February. One thousand female athletes from 69 clubs in 17 GCC and MENA countries will be competing – the largest participation the tournament has had in any of its previous editions.

Participating nations include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Morocco, Yemen, Palestine, Libya, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, Iraq and host nation the UAE.

The Egyptians took part in the 2016 edition in athletics, archery, showjumping, fencing and basketball, winning nine medals. This time, Egypt will take part in the same sports.

The tournament is being held under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohamed Al-Qassimi, wife of the ruler of Sharjah, chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) and chairperson of the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation (SWSF). Under the title “The World is Your Court, Together Victorious”, the 11-day event will run until 12 February at 10 new sports facilities in Sharjah.

ASWT 2018 will hold competitions in nine sporting disciplines: basketball, volleyball, table tennis, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, show jumping and karate, which makes its debut this year with three trophies to be claimed in different disciplines.

At the press conference announcing the details was Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al-Qassimi, SOC chairman of AWST; Sheikh Saqr bin Mohamed bin Khaled Al-Qassimi, chairman of the Sharjah Sports Council; and Nada Askar Al-Naqbi, deputy head of AWST’s SOC, head of its Executive Committee and director general of SWSF.

Also present were Abdel-Aziz Taryam, CEO, adviser and general manager of Etisalat Northern Emirates representing the tournament’s exclusive partner this year; Mohamed Hassan Khalaf, director general of Sharjah Media Corporation (SMC); SWSF athletes and members of local and international media. The press conference was presented by UAE’s archery champion and an athlete from the Sharjah Women’s Sports Foundation, Maitha Al-Suwaidi.

Sheikh Khaled extended his profound appreciation to Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed Al-Qassimi, a member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, for his vision and directives, and to Sheikha Jawaher who has paved the way for women to practise sports and take it up as a career by providing them with a conducive and enabling environment as well as world-class training facilities and expert mentorship.

“Thanks to their relentless support, Sharjah is now home to specialised sports facilities for women that meet the highest international standards,” Sheikh Khaled said. “This is reflected in the increasing number of regional and global competition titles female athletes and sportspersons from the UAE, and Sharjah in particular, have been bringing home.”

He continued: “The fourth edition of AWST will be the biggest in the tournament’s history – a strong indicator of the realisation of the Emirate’s vision to continually encourage women to excel in sports by organising world-class events that empower them, boosting their leadership, confidence and international competence,” Sheikh Khaled said while addressing the attendees of the press conference.”

Al-Naqbi lauded the efforts of AWST committee members, partnering government institutions and participating nations for their continued collaboration, and the media for their sharp coverage and publicity.

Al-Naqbi said: “The exponential increase in the scale and outreach of AWST’s fourth edition is testimony to the success of the continued partnerships, careful planning and seamless execution of the previous editions, which has earned us the respect and recognition that we are able to cherish today. We are honoured to be the host country of an event that celebrates women in sports and provides them with a prolific arena within our region to train, compete and exchange expertise and experiences.”

She added: “Our aim this year is to continue to build on the success we have earned in the previous editions and take the vision and aspirations of our wise leadership for making Sharjah’s landscape more fertile for the advancement of women in sports to the next level. I look forward to the tournament and wish all sportswomen good health and spirit to enjoy their participation to the fullest.”

Al-Naqbi highlighted the strict anti-doping tests and measures against performance-enhancing drugs that the AWST SOC has put into place in collaboration with the Anti-doping Committee which are testing 40 samples from inside and outside competitions. The SOC has tied up with Spain’s Barcelona laboratory, which is approved by the World Anti-doping Agency, and the National Anti-doping Committee for carrying out these tests.

The organising committee also unveiled venue details for training sessions and the final competitions.

Saudi Arabia is participating in five games, while the UAE has three clubs across all nine games. Bahrain and Algeria will be competing in eight games, while Jordan has four clubs for four games. Libya will participate with three clubs each in three disciplines.

Other participating countries include Palestine, which will enter with two clubs in two sports, and Kuwait which is participating in five sports. Lebanon, Morocco and Djibouti are participating with one club each in one sport.

AWST is the first women’s sporting event in the Arab world to use green technologies in its operations and services. It uses a digitally-integrated and paperless framework, making all its operations environmentally-friendly in line with Sharjah’s eco-friendly initiatives.

Sharjah Media Corporation, with its media arms represented by Sharjah Sports TV, will provide full coverage and live broadcasts of the tournament’s matches. They will also use their social media platforms to keep audiences updated on the date, time and venue details of all events. The corporation has set up a fully integrated sports analysis studio for TV broadcasting from key tournament venues.

The opening ceremony will be held on 2 February at 7pm at the Majaz Amphitheatre in Sharjah.

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