Based on the choices of our Sport360 writers, we’ve whittled down the region’s top male sportswomen of 2016 to this shortlist.
They include several Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic stars.
Their fate is now in your hands and you can vote for your Regional Sportswoman of the Year by voting in our poll both at the top and bottom of this page.
On Wednesday, we’ll be revealing the year’s best teams.
Don’t forget you can also still vote in the three international categories and remaining regional one, so go to www.sport360.com/awards to vote for all your favourite athletes and teams of 2016.
NADA AL BEDWAWI
The 19-year-old Emirati may not have won any medals in Rio, but made her mark before she had even stepped in the pool by becoming the nation’s first female Olympic swimmer. Al Bedwawi – who was also given the honour of carrying the national flag at the Parade of Nations – participated in the women’s 50m freestyle and while her time of 33.42 seconds in the heats wasn’t good enough to qualify, it was a personal best, and her impact on UAE sport will be everlasting.
That the 18-year-old Ahmed decided to miss her high school exams in order to compete at the 2016 Olympics, proved to be a wide decision for the Egyptian, who wrote history by becoming the first Arab weightlifter to win a medal at the Games.
Ahmed, who had previously won golds at the African Games and the Arab Championships, won a bronze medal in the women’s 69 kg event. She snatched 112kgs in her third attempt, and then did a clean and jerk with 143kgs.
The 24-year-old Emirati weightlifter may not have been best prepared for the 2016 Olympics, having sustained a neck injury which threatened to stall her career a few months before the trip to Rio. But with sheer determination and will power, Al-Balushi worked her way back, and when UAE got a country spot, her haul of 13 golds, six silvers and four bronzes in various international competitions got her the nod.
The experience of Rio is sure to propel her career to new highs in the future.
It turned out to be an extraordinary 2016 for the 20-year-old Jebet, who switched her allegiance from Kenya to Bahrain three years ago and made her adopted country proud with a string of awe-inspiring performances.
Not only did Jebet win the 3,000m steeplechase gold at Rio – the first ever Olympics gold medal for Bahrain – it was the second fastest time ever as she clocked 8:59.75.
But she wasn’t done yet. On August 27, at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Paris, she smashed the existing world record with a 8:52.78 effort.
NOURA AL KETBI
Just a day after Sara Al Senaani wrote history for UAE sports, Al Ketbi joined her in the hallowed list of Paralympic medallists by going one step further – she claimed a silver in the women’s shot put F32 class.
Al Ketbi threw a distance of 4.70m to finish second behind Tunisia’s Maroura Brahmi and helped UAE achieve their best ever result in Paralympics history.
SARA AL SENAANI
On September 17 this year, the 23-year-old Emirati became the first-ever female Paralympian from her country to win a medal when she secured a historic bronze in the shot put F33 event in Rio.
Al Senaani threw a personal best distance of 5.09m to come third on an all-Arab podium that was topped by Algerian Asmahan Boudjadar, who set a new African record with her 5.72m throw.
Know more about Sport360 Application