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Honoring women this International Women’s Day

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We’re highlighting some remarkable athletes as we celebrate the sporting achievements of women in the Kingdom

With more available information helping individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices, additional opportunities to participate at a local level and a growing number of impressive role models, women’s sports in the Kingdom has seen a significant spike in participation over the last five years with some estimates putting the figure at 150%.

Under the many initiatives by the SFA to create a more inclusive sporting environment for girls and women, the Kingdom is on track to achieve its goal to increase weekly sports participation to 40% by 2030.

In light of International Women’s Day, we’d like to mention four inspiring women who have had remarkable achievements.

Aseel AlHamad – The first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation

Engineer and designer Aseel AlHamad has long been an avid motorsports fan. She is a member of the International Automobile Federation and was appointed to represent Saudi Arabia at the Women in Motorsport Commission. In December 2017 she was appointed as the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).

Rasha AlKhamis – The first certified Saudi female boxer by the Saudi Boxing Federation

Rasha AlKhamis is not satisfied with keeping still. Active from an early age with the support of her father, she found her love of boxing while studying at the University of Southern California. Fast forward a few later to a chance encounter with president of the Saudi Boxing Federation where she suggested ways to highlight female participation in the sport and she became a member of the Saudi Boxing Federation.

In 2017 she joined 11 other Saudi women to climb the Atlas Mountains in Morocco over four days. A few months later in June she earned a Guinness World Record for playing a charity football match at the highest point at the time – Mount Kilimanjaro, at a staggering 5,714 meters.

Reema AlJuffali – The first Saudi Arabian woman racing driver and the first to hold a racing license

Reema obtained her driving license in October 2010 when she passed her driving test in the US. After obtaining her racing license in the Kingdom in 2017, she made her debut as a professional driver in October 2018 and had her first major victory in December of the same year.

She went on to represent the Kingdom in April in the 2019 F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch which was also her first appearance in a competitive racing event at the F4 British Championship. In November that year she was the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete in an international racing competition in Saudi Arabia.

Mashael AlObaidan – One of the first female athletes from the Kingdom to participate in the annual Dakar Rally

2022 is going to be a stellar year for Mashael AlObaidan. She and her co-captain are set to make history as the first female athletes from Saudi Arabia to take part in the annual Dakar Rally, in team aptly named ‘Shero.’ Mashael has been involved with motorsports from a young age, starting with buggies, dirt bikes and motorcycles before graduating to rally driving.

With an avid love for the outdoors, Mashael holds a US motorcycle driver’s license and received navigation and safety training in California, and she is also a Professional Association of Diving Instructors certified advanced scuba and free diver.

The SFA doesn’t only recognize athletes at an international level, but all individuals looking to make better choices for their health. In line with our recently launched Start Now campaign, we’re featuring people from all walks of life who have shared their fitness journeys. Currently, 45% of community sports groups registered on the SFA application are women.

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