KUWAIT CITY, April 23, (KUNA): Despite state support and encouragement, equestrian sports remain unpopular in Kuwait particularly among females who still face a host of diverse challenges. In this regard, financial and social factors emerge as the main barriers for women’s active participation in equestrian sports. “High cost is the main reason behind the unpopularity of equestrian sports, “ Deputy Director General of the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) Hamoud Felaiteh told KUNA. He clarified that “paying for a private center to care for and train horses, requires a fortune.” He added that leisure centers, schools and even some sports clubs do not have equestrian sports facilities. In addition to the financial and logistical barriers, there is a social barrier for female horse-riding lover as many consider equestrian sports exclusive to males, Felaiteh regretted.
But some Kuwaiti female riders have managed to break stereotypes and offer splendid performances in Arab and international equestrian competitions such as the promising riders Nadia Al-Mutawa, Jamila Al-Mutawa and Bara’h Salem Al-Sabah.
Felaiteh noted that PAS has taken a number of measures to promote the equestrian sports and help horse-riding lovers from both genders overcome challenges. “To encourage males and females to join these sports which teach endurance, courage and self-confidence, PAS has organized several tournaments and competitions to help riders hone their talents and skills and prepare themselves for local and international competitions,” he told KUNA.
He pointed out that PAS would open equestrian centers in Ahmadi, Al-Qurain and other neighborhoods soon to encourage women join equestrian sports. The state-run hunting and equestrian club, Farwaniya and Jahra equestrian centers only organize competitions and do not offer training courses, he said, noting that there are several private specialized clubs that could be of a great help to those yearning to learn horse riding. He elaborated that these centers organize tournaments, offer training, and have horse stables and kits.
Felaiteh urged government training centers to allocate part of the support provided by the state to promote equestrian sports among girls and boys and to cooperate and coordinate with the private leisure centers and sports clubs to qualify aspiring youth to partake in equestrian competitions.
He stressed the importance of establishing special equestrian sports academies to provide high-quality training for girls in different ages. PAS, as a part of its commitment to serve all segments of society, also plans to set up centers for people with mental disabilities to be trained on horse riding and establish a special club for them, he said.