Sports Platform for Women to Show Talent

| May 18, 2015

Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) chairperson, Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana, says hosting international sport events has helped her country to showcase world-class sport to new audiences, connect more young people to sport at grassroots and inspire future sporting heroes.

Speaking at a media workshop on women and sport, she said hosting major events also helped to break down barriers, challenge gender norms and empowered more females through what they saw.

Sport, she said, gave women and girls a chance to show themselves and others what they could achieve adding it also provided role models and it was such role models that were crucial to aancing sport and society in general.

She said role models captured the imagination of young people, changed their perceptions and enabled them to see potential.

“Just last year, Doha won the rights to host the 2019 World Championships in Athletics. Young Qatari hurdler, Mariam Farid, was an Ambassador for the bid and explained to the IAAF the impact that hosting the World Championships in the Middle East for the first time in history would have on the young females across the region,” she said

She added that it was Farid’s ambition to be a role model and inspire more girls to participate in athletics.

Also, she said when the Qatar Women’s Sport Committee was formed in 2001, a women’s place in Qatar was seen predominantly as in the home.

However, she noted that as Qatar has evolved and developed over the last decade, so have perceptions and role models like Sheikha Mozah, the Mother of the Emir and the driving force behind education and social reforms in Qatar, are challenging gender perceptions.

“Now, female students are outnumbering male students at university in Qatar by nearly three to one,” she said.

She said with the unwavering support of the QOC, the Qatar Women’s Sport Committee had also considerably aanced Qatari women’s participation and performance in sport.

The support of the QOC in ensuring that women’s sport development, she said was a fundamental part of Qatar’s sporting vision had been crucial to such progress.

Their progress, she said included establishment of training centres for their national teams, women’s leagues for six different sports, which were affiliated to the men’s leagues and continued to grow in popularity.

The other aancement, she said was appointing international high-level coaches to share knowledge and expertise, increasing the numbers and performance of their female athletes at major Championships, including the Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and GCC Games, and ensuring that Qatari female athletes competed in Olympic Games for the first time in London 2012.

She said Qatar was still at the start of its sporting journey and the ability to showcase their own athletes participating in the world’s biggest sporting event provided a catalyst for inspiring future female sports stars.

Athletes like Nadine Wahden, she said were inspired by their London 2012 female stars hence she qualified for last year’s Asian Games Gymnastics Trampoline finals, rubbing shoulders with athletes from sporting powerhouse countries like China and Japan.

She however said in order to promote role models, athletes needed exposure and the media was absolutely vital in that regard.

“It is more than simply giving female athletes airtime and space in newspapers – the way that they are portrayed is just as crucial. Too often, female athletes are only promoted for their beauty and femininity, rather than for their talent, determination and dedication,” she said.

Further, she said the media was a male-dominated world and it was widely acknowledged that female journalists were more likely to give coverage to female athletes.

“It is also widely acknowledged that male journalists are more likely to portray female athletes in a negative light, increasing the number of female sports journalists, photographers and presenters, and providing education on editorial guidelines is therefore key,” she said.

The workshop, organised by Qatar Olympic Committees, was attended by sports journalists from Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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