Sharjah Women's Sports changing the landscape for female Athletes in the region

Hiba Khan - Writer 14:00 08/07/2019
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When Sharjah Ladies Club established the Sharjah Women’s Sports Department in 2008, it was a massive stepping stone for giving rise to a generation of Emirati women who would become leaders in the world of sport.

Eleven years later, the organisation has stayed true to its word as not only has it empowered young athletes in their sporting endeavours and allowed them to practice whatever sport they like in a fully private setting, but it has also created an integrated system to promote women’s sport in the region, particularly in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Sharjah Women’s Sport (SWS) became an independent entity chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi following a 2016 Emiri decree, and has since then gone on to form competitive sports teams that participate in tournaments at local, regional and international levels.

As part of their efforts to promote women’s sports, SWS has also organised various events to provide a platform for athletes to showcase their skills and includes a wide array of sports. This includes the Sharjah Women’s Sports Cup, which was launched in 2014, and a biannual event called the Arab Women Sports Tournament which is set to return for its fifth edition sometime during the first quarter of 2020, after a very successful 2018 edition.

HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, director general of Sharjah Women’s Sports, said: “With the aim to identify and nurture local talent, we organise a series of regional and international tournaments to enrich their experience.

“Playing with international teams enhances their exposure and level of confidence as they represent the UAE in such tournaments. Such initiatives go a long way in not just elevating the stature of women in sports locally but also provides them with a professional platform to showcase their skills regionally and globally.”

Renowned Emirati equestrian rider, Nadia Taryam, sang the praises of SWS and insists the organisation provides a solid cornerstone for female athletes to shape their sporting careers.

Taryam is currently preparing to participate in the International Show Jumping Competition in Rabat, Morocco, where she is targeting a chance to qualify for the
2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and attributes her success as an athlete to SWS which she claims has made her the athlete she is today.

“SWS goes above and beyond to support female athletes. From giving them the tools needed to tap into their truest potential to supporting them throughout the process of training, preparation and competition,” added Taryam.

“Sharjah Women’s Sports acts as the anchor female athletes need to shape their sporting careers.”

The star showjumper started the sport when she was just 10-yearsold and feels that the society ihas very much stuck to traditional ideas about gender roles and what girls could and could not do, and she says SWS contributed tremendously in breaking those taboos.

“One of the biggest challenges is to change people’s mindsets around their expectations from a girl, things like it’s not right for a girl to compete in male dominated sports, and win,” said Taryam.

“However, since the formation of SWS, a lot has changed for the better for us.”

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