Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) organised by Sharjah Women’s Sports (SWS) has announced that all individual format games categories of the tournament will be accepting two clubs from all participating Arab nations for its fifth edition in 2020, to be held in Sharjah from February 2–12.

This is the first time that participation in seven out of the nine competition categories of AWST, namely, shooting, archery, table tennis, karate, show jumping, fencing and athletics, has been expanded since the tournament was incepted.

Organisers affirm that the decision has been made to raise the profile of women's sports in the region, increase participation in AWST, boost the level of competition and, ultimately, advance the quality of all individual sporting disciplines offered on the AWST platform.

The announcement was made during AWST 2020’s first preparatory committee meeting chaired by HE Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, Chairperson of AWST’s Preparatory Committee, and held in the presence HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of AWST’s Supreme Organising Committee, Head of AWST’s Executive Committee and Director General of SWS. The meeting was attended by all members of the preparatory committee.

The meeting reflected on recommendations made by previous meetings, reviewed ongoing tournament plans and discussed the possibility of the Arab Equestrian Federation and UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation to supervise the equestrian and show jumping competitions during the event.

The meeting’s attendees also reviewed lists of banned substances issued by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the latest developments regarding a partnership agreement with an international laboratory who will be conducting the anti-doping tests for AWST 2020 players. They also discussed a proposal aimed at further developing the tournament in order for it to become a qualifying event for regional, continental and international competitions.

HE Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, said: “The decision to allow two clubs from all participating nations in the individual games categories is a big step forward, which will pave the way for more talented female athletes in the Arab region to participate and challenge their peers”.

“We look forward to the next edition, which will be the stage for outstanding athletic performances and highlight the high level of talent and expertise possessed by sportswomen in the region. Their energy and capabilities contribute effectively to developing the reality of Arab women’s sports. We are also working to further develop the tournament in order for it to become a qualifying event for regional, continental and international competitions,” she added.

For her part, HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, commented: “The new decision will allow more sportswomen in the region to showcase their professionalism at a prestigious tournament and learn from their regional peers’ performances, which will not only enhance the level of competition but invariably boost the female sporting landscape of the Arab world”.

“Preparations are in full swing for AWST 2020, which we expect to be highly competitive and shine light on amazing Arab sportswomen. During the meeting, we made sure that decisions and recommendations are made in accordance with the highest standards of global sports tournaments, which include setting up international committees for anti-doping who will carry out tests in advanced labs, availability of the latest arbitration methods used in international courses and tournaments for juries and committees, and the readiness of the 13 facilities where the tournaments and training will be held. We hope that the fifth edition will meet the aspirations of sportswomen and all our stakeholders,” Al Naqbi further added.

The Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) was launched in 2012 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) and SWS. The event is held biennially in Sharjah with the aim of furthering women’s sports in the Arab region.

Source: National Network Communications- NNC