Women forging ahead

December 4, 2019

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Women forging ahead

The Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST), which will be staged in Sharjah in February, has grown from strength to strength over the years featuring fierce females from across the region vying for victory in several sporting categories.

Hosted by Sharjah Women’s Sports (SWS) and held biennially under the patronage of Her Highness Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of SWS, the AWST exemplifies its commitment to providing a platform for women athletes to thrive and realise their aspirations.

Featuring just five games in its 2012 debut, the enthusiasm and dedication of the Emirati and Arab players prompted SWS to increase the tournament’s games to seven in the 2014 edition. One game was added in the 2016 edition and in 2018, with the addition of yet another, the number of competition disciplines rose to nine.

Last year, sportswomen from 16 Arab countries and 67 clubs competed professionally in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, archery, fencing, equestrian jumping, karate, shooting, and finally, athletics.

Nada Askar Al Naqbi, deputy head of AWST’s Supreme Organising Committee, head of AWST’s Executive Committee and director general of SWS, told members of the press that the statistics quantify the great strides SWS has made in developing the professional landscape of female sports in the UAE and the region.

“Preparations for all future AWST editions begin as soon as the current edition comes to a close,” said Al Naqibi. “We are resolute on continuing on our journey to take Arab women’s sports to the highest levels of professionalism and achievement, which follows from the vision of HH Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the unwavering guidance and support offered by his wife, HH Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SWS. “We want AWST to be a regional benchmark for professional competition and skills development. We want Sharjah to reinforce its status as an incubator of human talent and capability, offering the region’s sportswomen a vibrant springboard to launch into their international sporting careers.”  

A tournament manifesto has been released by the committee highlighting the roles of the follow-up and supervision, sportswomen eligibility, doping control, disciplinary and appellate committees, games’ technical committees, judges and referees’ committees, as well as outlining the roles of the General Secretariat for the union of key committees of the tournament.

AWST 2020 has approved special prizes for participating clubs, including a ‘Club Sports Excellence’ trophy for the club that earns maximum medals, a ‘Sports Excellence’ trophy for the club competing in maximum AWST disciplines, and a ‘Fair Play Committee Union’ trophy, awarded to the club with the lowest number of violations on administrative or technical levels.

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