In a country where jiu-jitsu is the combat sport of choice, Emirati teenager Noura Albloushi developed a passion for Muay Thai and is slowly making a name for herself in the UAE.
The 14-year-old picked up the sport when she was nine, and never looked back.
“I started when I was young, five years ago, my father pushed me and I got into it and loved it. Muay Thai helped me a lot in my life,” she says in the video above (provided by Abu Dhabi Sports Council).
“People’s reaction wasn’t okay at first and because of that they thought that girls shouldn’t do sports. I cheered myself so I could come here and show myself to the world and make people think that women can do sports also.”
Albloushi is keen on changing gender stereotypes in the UAE. She got selected to join the Muay Thai national team, which has come on the back of the foundation of a UAE Muay Thai federation last April.
“Fighting in the ring, she grabbed all the attention as an Emirati girl fighting in a sport considered to be for men only in our society,” says Sbee Rahal, Muay Thai coach at Titans.
The young Emirati has boundless ambition and is keen on getting a black belt and going pro.
“After getting picked to the national team I actually was nervous but half of me was also excited,” she added.
“I’m actually really proud, really willing to raise my name to the world just for my country. I want to achieve every gold medal in every championship, be a professional at Muay Thai, join international tournaments and represent the UAE.”
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There is no shortage of top sporting events in the Emirates and here’s our one-stop diary of everything that’s going on — welcome to our weekly feature, What’s Up UAE.
With it being UAE National Day this weekend, on Friday December 1, get in the spirit of celebrating the nation’s 46th birthday.
Are you attending or participating in one of the following events?
Here’s our run-down of some of this week’s sporting events:
EMIRATE AIRLINE DUBAI RUGBY SEVENS
Thursday, November 30 to Saturday December 2
One of the UAE’s biggest sporting and social events of the year is upon us!
The Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, taking place from November 30 to December 2 at The Sevens Stadium, is the first event in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series.
Over 100,000 fans and 4,500 players from all over the world are expected to descend over the long weekend and with a fantastic array of entertainment and activities lined up, this is going to be yet another unforgettable three-day rugby festival.
The ever-growing Invitation Tournament will see over 260 teams from all over the world battling it out on all eight rugby pitches and on the netball courts, making 2017 the largest tournament to-date.
SAUCONY TIME TRIAL RUN
Friday, December 1
Runners will turn out for the second Time Trial Run Series, Saucony-sponsored event of the season at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
The run gives participants the unique opportunity to run a 5km or 10km or a team 2.5km relay at one of the world’s largest multi-purpose facilities on a course which has officially been accredited by the IAAF-AIMS.
With more regular runs scheduled for the year, the series is aimed at facilitating and tracking progress for all newcomers and fitness enthusiasts from across the UAE.
The event included a celebratory breakfast and an awards ceremony where everyone received prizes for taking part. Runners and their friends and family spent time in the dedicated Race Village which offered a range of entertainment and leisure activities for everyone.
NBF FUJAIRAH RUN 2017
Friday, December 1
The inaugural National Bank of Fujairah PJSC (NBF) takes place in the scenic emirate.
The event coincides with the festivities of the National Day weekend. Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, the bank invites fitness enthusiasts along with their friends and family to take part in the run whilst experiencing the natural beauty of Fujairah.
Trophies and medals will be awarded to the top three winners in different age categories across each of the following distances – 3km, 5km and 10km. In addition, cash prizes will be awarded to the top 10 finishers in the 10km race.
UAE SOLIDARITY WALK 2017
Saturday, December 1
Celebrate the UAE’s 46th birthday this National Day weekend and take part in a patriotic 3KM walk at Al Mamzar Beach Park!
Wear red, green, white and black of the UAE flag and join in with the celebrations!