Second season for Abu Dhabi sports awards for women
ABU DHABI // A competition that awards prizes of up to Dh200,000 for the best female athletes will be reinstated for a second year.
The Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Women Athletes will crown five women from Arab countries and four sports organisations as winners on May 4 next year.
Nominations for the prizes began on Wednesday and will continue until the end of the year.
The awards for individuals include prizes for best female athlete, disabled athlete, coach, media presenter and sporting administrator. Each winner will receive Dh200,000.
“The main objective is to encourage Arab women to become athletes, especially ones with disabilities,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, general manager of Abu Dhabi Educational Council and member of the award’s supreme committee.
“We want to motivating women to develop their capabilities in leadership and accomplishment.”
The organisations, which are competing for a prize of Dh 100,000, can win in categories including excellence in media work in women’s sports, the development of junior sports, sponsorship and marketing and the development of national teams.
There is also the female sports personality of the year award, which has two winners – one Emirati and one Arab. This award has no cash prize.
The UAE Women Football Committee won last season’s award in the development of junior sportswomen category. Amal Abu Shallakh, a member of the Arab Federal Football League who represented the foundation, said since 2009 it had established 23 centres for women’s football and registered 1,500 players.
“We even developed 40 junior female referees, two of whom were accredited with an international badge,” she said.
Recently, their players competed in the under-14 regional tournament in Qatar.
“We won the bronze medal and our girl referees were part of it.”
As well as the honour of winning, she said they were encouraged to register by the backer of the awards. “The name of Sheikha Fatima is well-known so everyone is keen on being part of it,” she said.
“After the first press conference [in 2012] to announce the award, we wanted to know which category we can register for, so we communicated with the Supreme Council and they were very encouraging and helpful.”
She said she was not surprised to win last year’s award, considering the efforts her members made promoting women’s football.
“This year we will apply for a different category, we will have an executive management board meeting and decide. Last year we entered the junior category so perhaps this year we will enter the development of national teams category.”
The terms and conditions of the awards have been amended to give the organising committee more of an idea about who should win.
“Some standards have been amended so the choice of winners is more accurate and so the winners will be truly deserved,” said committee member Major General Mohammed Al Romaithi, deputy commander general of Abu Dhabi Police.
He stressed that officials were keen for the awards to keep going for many years. “Many awards are launched and forgotten even before they kick off,” he said.
For a person to be nominated, they should have an honourable sporting record, have had no sanctions issued against them and not have committed any act that contravenes sporting ethics.
They also must have been involved in the sporting activity for two years and can only apply in one category they have not won before.
“This award not only targets Emirati women, but all Arab women to participate in athletics,” said Noura Al Kaabi, chief executive of twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority, and member of the award’s supreme committee.
Published: May 28, 2014 04:00 AM