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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 12: With grit and sheer determination, the Kuwaiti woman etched her name in the world of sports; thereby, establishing her presence and competence in various sports activities locally, regionally and internationally, reports Al-Qabas daily. Distinguished Kuwaiti female athletes have become notable champions who broke the monopoly of men in sports and raised the name of Kuwait in sports forums.
During an interview with the daily recently, these female athletes unanimously agreed that women’s sports witnessed a remarkable and qualitative leap as a result of societal awareness and change in parents’ view of women’s sports as their parents fully supported them in developing their talents. These athletes called to mind the challenges and difficulties they faced as they struggled to put their sporting ambitions into wider horizons, such as the full-time sports issue and lack of training centers in and outside the country. Madawi Al-Shammari, who is into athletics, did not succumb to the obstacles that surrounded her as she struggled to realize her dream since childhood. She is a passionate athlete who started practicing her sports at the age of 14.
She revealed: “My passion for sports surfaced when I was in middle school. My teacher encouraged me to train and pursue my dream. I participated in many school tournaments. I was selected for Kuwait women’s team in 2013. The path to success was not paved with roses. Women’s sports face many problems like the full-time sports issue, scarcity of training camps and limited contact with professional athletes or participation in external and local friendly tournaments.” Futsal team captain of Al-Fatta Sports Club and assistant coach of the Kuwaiti women’s team Hanan Al-Rashed believes that the excellence of women’s sports in Kuwait was preceded by majestic struggle stories of pioneering Kuwaiti women, who paved way for other women to toe the path of success.
She told the daily that “many Kuwaiti female athletes lived a story of struggle for their love of sports. With perseverance, their dreams were realized and they proved their ability to achieve good results. They participated in the women’s football league in the presence of female professionals from different countries, so the Kuwaiti female athlete developed her skills and represented the country in international sports events.” Asked about the obstacles that female athletes usually face, Al-Rashed disclosed “At first, we did not find a place for us to play football, not to mention the negative social outlook that prevented many women from exercising due to wrong habits and traditions stating that women are unable to exert physical effort.” Eman Al-Otaibi, a champion in endurance competitions, put her country on the map of the largest and most difficult sports competition in the world as the first Kuwaiti woman to participate in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup for Endurance Race 2022. This is held annually in Al-Ula, North Saudi Arabia. Al-Otaibi said “sports is an essential part of my life. I represented Kuwait in a number of foreign tournaments in Bahrain, Spain, Italy and Riyadh. I also qualified for the World Cup for Endurance in Slovakia.”
On the challenges that female endurance athletes are facing, she cited the “absence of local participation.” She urged the concerned authorities to organize more endurance competitions for women in the country, similar to what the United Arab Emirates has been doing. She also stressed the need to establish training centers near residential areas. She pointed out there is no place for equestrians to practice their sports, except the one located in Kabad.