Women sports off to colourful start

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Sharjah: A colourful ceremony marked the opening of the third edition of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club on Tuesday.

Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and the Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah and Member of the Supreme Council, dignitaries and speakers from across many Arab countries attended the opening ceremony.

Prince Talal Bin Badr bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz, President of the Arab Sports Council and the UANOC, Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of AWST’s Supreme Organizing Committee, Sheikh Eissa Bin Rashed Al Khalifa, First Vice President of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees, Sheikha Hayat Bint Abdul Aziz Al Khalifah, Head of AWST’s Follow-up Committee, Ahlam Al Maneaa, President of the Qatari Women Council and Khalid Abdul Aziz, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports and Chairman of the Executive Bureau of the Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports Council, also graced the occassion.

AWST is held after every two years, under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher, to encourage and recognise the contribution of the Arab women athletes.

The tournament will run from Feb.2-12 and the athletes will fight it out for the top honours in eight different disciplines – basketball, archery, volleyball, fencing, table tennis, athletics and show jumping.

The third AWST games were launched under the slogan, “Your World, Your Court, Together Victorious” with the participation of 57 clubs from 17 Arab countries and more than 1000 players, coaches and administration personnel.

Journalist forum

The first ever Female Sports Journalist Forum takes place at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre today during the third AWST.

Held under the slogan “It’s Your Turn”, the forum is the first of its kind in the Arab world specifically for female sports journalists and will feature three panel sessions with professional sports personalities.

The forum will open with a short film called “Women and Sports Media” and this will be followed by the first panel discussion titled “Contemporary Challenges…Me or Him,” moderated by Hussah Al Rayyasi, Dubai Sports channel presenter.

The session will be attended by Layla Samati, sports commentator on beIN Sports channels; Mohammed Jamil Abdul Qadir, president of the Arab Union of Sports Press; Evelyn Wata, member of the executive committee of the Association of International Sports Press (AIPS) and Roes Al Musaifri from beIN Sports channels.

The second panel discussion titled “New Media and Sports” will be moderated by Hind Mohammed, Sada Al Balad TV presenter. The session will host Amjad Al Monif, journalist, blogger and CEO of Eleven Communication and PR, and Abdul Rasool Abdullah, CEO of the “Sports for All” Group. It will highlight the careers of two distinguished female athletes, Egyptian squash player, Habiba Mohamed Ahmed and Moroccan volleyball player, Thuraya Erab.

Ola Faris, anchor and program presenter in the MBC TV Network will moderate the third panel discussion called “Success Formula” featuring Mervat Hussein, the first Sudanese sports journalist; Susan Shalabi, member of the women’s committee in the Asian Football Federation; Adnan Hamad, prominent Emirati media person and sports commentator and Amal Ismail, Sports Journalist at Roya newspaper. The third and final session will have the forum’s closing statement and recommendations.

Nada Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of the Supreme Organising Committee for the Arab Women Sports Tournament, Head of the Executive Committee and Tournament Manager, said: “Organising the Female Sports Journalist Forum is a new development added to the tournament that reflects the Organising Committee’s eagerness to support women in sports in every capacity, introduce new events and make every possible effort to develop Arab women’s sports at all levels.”

Al Naqbi said the forum also aims to provide a road map for women who want to enter the field of sports media, or those who wish to further develop their sports media skills. She said, “Presentation of different experiences and examples of successful female professionals in the sports fields, whether athletes, journalists or titleholders shows how women have enriched the sports media scene in various media fields. Women have long been proactive in the media and more women are now seeking to make a career in sports journalism.”

Noon Sports Corporation sponsored the first Female Sports Journalist Forum and will launch the first Regional Arab Women Sports Magazine at the forum to enrich the sports media content with Arab women’s achievements in sporting events across the world.

A spokesperson said that there was significant development and progress achieved by Arab sportswomen after the sports field was confined to men previously. She said: “Noon Sports Corporation’s sponsorship falls within the corporation’s objectives and its keenness to develop women’s sports and sports media as a key partner of success.”

The Supreme Organising Committee of the Arab Women Sports Tournament has chosen the first 40 female media personnel who registered their names via the official website of the tournament, and who met the qualifying criteria, to have the costs of their accommodation, visas, and transportation covered free of charge.