The Supreme Organising Committee (SOC) of the Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST 2020) said that around 70 clubs from 16 Arab nations with 1,500 participants are expected at the 2020 edition, at its first meeting on April 25 (Thursday) at the Radisson Blu Sharjah hotel. The meeting discussed ongoing plans and the agenda for the fifth edition of the Arab world’s largest women’s sporting championship, slated to take place in 2020.
Presided over by Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of AWST’s SOC, the meeting discussed the organisational structure of the committee and its responsibilities during the preparation phases of AWST 2020. Suggestions on the venue of the AWST opening ceremony, the list of VIPs and guests to be invited from outside the UAE, and other organisational and technical plans, were also addressed.
The meeting expressed confidence in the increase in number of participating clubs and athletes from Arab countries. Basketball, volleyball, table tennis, fencing, archery, shooting, athletics, show jumping and karate are the sports that will feature in the event.
In his speech at the meeting, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said: “Since its inception, AWST has highlighted women’s sports in the UAE and in Sharjah, in particular. The continued support and generous patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Chairperson of Sharjah Women’s Sports (SWS), has laid the foundation for Arab female athletes to train, compete professionally and grow. It offers them an ideal platform to showcase their potential and capabilities.”
He added: “The untiring efforts of all local and Arab organisations involved have contributed greatly to advancing the state of women’s sports in the region. Together, we will push forward on this journey to fulfil the aspirations of Arab sportswomen.”
Her Excellency Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of AWST’s SOC and Head of AWST’s Executive Committee, and Director General of SWS, said: “AWST has become an exceptional event on the calendar of local and regional women’s sporting events. It continues to attract new faces, established athletes as well as professional players.”
She continued: “Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi’s forward-looking vision has led to the creation of a conducive environment for all sportswomen. It has contributed to bringing women’s sports into the spotlight and enabled athletes to redefine their athletic skills and expertise and win the most prestigious titles.”
HE Al Naqbi attributed this resounding success to the tremendous support and attention given by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi to various sporting activities. The many local and international platforms and initiatives launched by her had enabled Emirati and Arab women to attempt groundbreaking achievements and compete internationally.
She underlined AWST’s commitment to environmental safety standards and green initiatives in line with Sharjah’s leading sustainability and eco-friendly practices. HE Al Naqbi offered attendees a deeper insight into AWST’s awards and trophies and reiterated AWST’s adherence to anti-dumping rules in compliance with the highest standards of transparency and disclosure.
HE Al Naqbi has urged female sports reporters and journalists to lead the field in reporting on sporting events. She also emphasised that workshops for female sports journalists, training them to contribute positively to the field of sports will be extremely beneficial.
The meeting was attended by members of AWST’s SOC, including HE Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; HE Brigadier Arif Al Shamsi, Director General of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Sharjah; HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); and Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Muhairi, Director of Sharjah Health Authority.
HE Eissa Hilal Al Hizami, Secretary General of Sharjah Sports Council; HE Khalid Eissa Al Midfa, Assistant Secretary General of the General Authority for Sports and Youth; and HE Talal Al Shanqiti, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee were also present.
HE Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA); Rashid Al Obed, Director of Sharjah Sports Channel; and HE Hanan Al Mahmoud, CEO of Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre (JRCC), also attended the meeting.
The first edition of AWST was held in 2012 at the initiative of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Chairperson of Sharjah Women’s Sports (SWS).
The pan-Arab tournament is held biennially with the aim of furthering women’s sports in the Arab region. The fifth edition AWST will be held in 2020.