Leading women associated with various UAE sports bodies called for greater public and private support and a big push to women’s sports in the country in order to help women compete with the best of the best in regional and international championships.
Taking part in the Sharjah Ramadan Majlis debate on ‘Arab Women in Sports and Global Aspirations’ (May 30) at Al Majaz Amphitheatre, leading figures associated with women’s sports called for a whole new approach to give impetus to female sports in the country, enabling UAE women to compete at the global level and bring laurels to the nation.
Sheikha Shamsa bint Hashar Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Women's Committee and Board Member of the UAE Volleyball Association, underlined the need for offering women sportspersons incentive and training to help bring out the best in them and make best possible use of their immense potential.
Sharing her considerable experience of dealing with various women’s sports, Sheikha Shamsa bint Hashar Al Maktoum said medals are not enough for women to encourage them to compete with the best of the best from around the world. “Women players also need incentive and enough training to create true winners,” she emphasised, calling for government support to promote women’s sports in the country. She pointed out that although in some individual sports women have excelled at the international level, group sports have not been able to go beyond the Gulf level.
HE Nada Askar, Director General of Sharjah Women's Sports Foundation, said when UAE women have demonstrated their potential in every walk of life including in the decision making process of sports bodies, there is no reason why they cannot excel in the field. She said the rise of women to the decision-making level in sports bodies shows women’s confidence and trust in these forums.
She called for greater participation of women in sports and creating women leaders to take charge of sports bodies. Calling for distinguishing between sports associations and clubs and both supporting and complementing each other, she said everyone ought to give support to women’s sports in order to give them greater opportunities to excel and bring laurels to the country.
Sahar Al Obad, Chairperson of the Emirates Volunteer Society and Member of UAE Athletics Federation called for recognising women’s potential in sports and giving them the same kind of support as men’s sports have been receiving in the country. She emphasised the need for the General Sports Authority and various sports associations in the country to cooperate with each other and join hands in the interest of women’s sports in the UAE.
Striking a more positive note, Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber, Board Member of the General Sport Authority and Member of the Executive Office of the UAE National Olympics Committee said the fact that there are more women leading sports bodies today shows that a brighter future awaits women’s sports in the UAE. She pointed out that women’s presence in leading positions in various sports bodies and associations gives women players greater confidence and support.
Dr Al Jaber said that material support and training are critical to women’s sports and associations. She said many associations do train players and some players have even gone to the level of Olympics. She assured her co-panellists and the audience that there would be many positive changes soon as there is a new board of directors and several measures are being taken to improve things. She also hinted at increasing the number of women members in sports association to offer them greater support.
The Sharjah Ramadan Majlis is being hosted by Sharjah Press Club of Sharjah Government Media Bureau in partnership with Sharjah Media Corporation. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Sports Council, HE Dr Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams) , HE Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau, HE Hassan Yaqoub Al Mansouri, Secretary General of Sharjah Media Council and a number of dignitaries, officials, sportspersons and members of media attended the Majlis.