Sarah Attar. Al Hasnaa Al Hammad. Farah Jefry. Sarah Al Jumaah. These are among the first talented female athletes from Saudi Arabia to make their mark on the world of sport. With opportunities for Saudi women who have dreams of competing in the national and international sports scene abounding, they won’t be the last. The kingdom is changing, and it’s changing fast. Weekly activity of female Saudi citizens increased from 8 percent in 2015 to 19 percent in 2019, which is an uptick of more than 100 percent in just five years. The goal? 40 percent of the population exercising once a week by 2030.
“I’m looking forward to it — to being part of the change,” says Alanoud Mohammed Algheriri, who is a Portfolio Manager at the Ministry of Sport (MOS).
“The main purpose [of the Diversity & Inclusion initiative] is to empower women’s sport in different areas,” she says. According to Algheriri, this means providing access to facilities, providing coaching courses, supporting the federations for female sports, and engaging in local and international competitions. “We are trying to raise awareness about the importance of the female sports and how can they support us in, for example, delivering programs, sponsoring events and providing facilities.”
Marathon champion Miznah Al Nassar competes in the 800 meters at the Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017.
Athletes march in the opening ceremony of the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Jeddah United women’s basketball club has played in games around the world since its founding in 2006.