Arab Women Sports Tournament continues to raise the bar for athletes in the region

Eighteen countries participating at fifth edition of the Olympic-themed biennial event in Sharjah

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Amith Passela: The opening ceremony of the Fifth Arab Women Sports Tournament. Sunday, February 2nd, 2020. Sharjah Sports Club, Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Overview

What: The Arab Women’s Sports Tournament is a biennial multisport event exclusively for Arab women athletes.

When: From Sunday, February 2, to Wednesday, February 12.

Where: At 13 different centres across Sharjah.

Disciplines: Athletics, archery, basketball, fencing, Karate, table tennis, shooting (rifle and pistol), show jumping and volleyball.

Participating countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Qatar and UAE.

The Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) took another big step forward in Sharjah’s long-term goal of building a platform for Arab sportswomen from where they can graduate to the highest level and excel at the international arena.

The fifth staging of the Olympic-themed biennial event has drawn a record 78 clubs from 18 countries and got underway after a gala opening ceremony at the Sharjah Sports Club on Sunday.

The competitions, to be held over 11 days, will have individuals and teams competing across nine disciplines at 13 venues, including six state-of-the-art sports centres, in Sharjah.

Nada Askar Al Naqbi, director general of Sharjah Women’s Sports and deputy head of the Supreme Organising Committee of AWST, said the event will create a pathway for female Arab athletes to achieve success at the international level.

“The AWST came into being in 2012 to promote equal opportunities for women’s sports,” she said.

“We want to enhance communication among female Arab athletes and elevate the prestige of Arab women’s sports on the international arena. We also aim to break down barriers that are preventing women from entering the field of sports.”

According to Al Naqbi, the first year of the AWST had five disciplines and 47 participating clubs from 12 Arab countries. “Today, we are hosting 78 clubs from across 18 nations and our athletes compete in nine different disciplines, making it the largest sporting platform for women in the Arab world,” she said.

“This event has been expanding its reach and growing in stature. I believe female participation in sports in our region is well on its way of being normalised as our sportswomen are disrupting traditional gender boundaries.”

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Amith Passela: Nadar Askar AlNaqbi, Deputy Head of the Supreme Organising Committee of AWST, Head of theExecutive Committee, and Director General of Sharjah WomenÕs Sports. Sunday, February 2nd, 2020. Sharjah Sports Club, Sharjah. Chris Whiteoak / The National

AWST was established on the directive of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of Sharjah Women’s Sports.

“AWST is certified by the Union of Arab National Olympics, which indicates that all our nine competitive games abide by a strict code of rules and regulations that are similar to that of the Olympic Games,” Al Naqbi said.

“This adds great value for female athletes aspiring to reach the top in their professional careers. For them, it is a stepping stone to international sporting events.

“Ever since AWST was launched, women’s sports in the region has been at a turning point.

“The competitive streak and professionalism shown by our sportswomen are creating powerful role models for the younger generation, setting the stage for more girls to turn to sports as a professional choice.”

Al Naqbi explained the AWST was founded with the strategic aim of providing sportswomen a top-flight sporting event.

“To remain true to this promise, we spend a year studying and evaluating the latest trends and developments within the regional sporting environment and explore methods of incorporating these in our next edition,” she said when asked why it has become a biennial event.

“We evaluate on how best to update the games we currently host and to explore the potential of introducing new disciplines to the tournament.

“Participating clubs also take advantage of the extra year to prepare for the event through training and participation in other international sport events.”

Overview

What: The Arab Women’s Sports Tournament is a biennial multisport event exclusively for Arab women athletes.

When: From Sunday, February 2, to Wednesday, February 12.

Where: At 13 different centres across Sharjah.

Disciplines: Athletics, archery, basketball, fencing, Karate, table tennis, shooting (rifle and pistol), show jumping and volleyball.

Participating countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Qatar and UAE.

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