Monday, November 2, 2015

This Moroccan inspires

The Organising Committee of the 3rd Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) Sharjah 2016 last Thursday held a press conference in Casablanca, and met with a number of sports journalists as part of the promotional tour AWST is organising to target Arab media including Egypt and Jordan. 

The press conference was attended by Nada Al Naqbi, Head of the AWST’s Executive Committee and AWST’S Manager and Guest of Honour Moroccan athlete, Nezha Bidouane, president of the Moroccan Royal University of Sport for All and President of "Women, Achievements and Values Association".

Al Naqbi started her speech by thanking the audience for attending the press conference and stressing that the selection of Casablanca for this event came in recognition of its position on the Arab women’s sports scene, as well as in anticipation of participation from Moroccan clubs in AWST Sharjah - 2016. Al Naqbi invited all Moroccan women’s clubs to take part in the event.

She said, "The Arab media is an essential and effective partner in supporting Arab women’s sports, particularly when mobilising official and public support for the development of Arab women sports. This support is needed for enabling Arab women to gain sporting achievements, both locally and globally. Arab women have great potential in sports, and they need the opportunity to realize this potential."

Al Naqbi gave a presentation highlighting the progress achieved by sports for women in the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular. She also highlighted the effort made by the wife of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi for women’s sports such as establishing Sharjah Ladies Club (SLC) in 1982.

"Our presence in Morocco comes from our strong belief in the importance and power of Moroccan media, both on the local and regional levels. This media will play an important role in the success of AWST, and in encouraging women to engage in sports. We believe Morocco has great potential for women’s sports, with young athletes able to climb podiums in Arab and international tournaments," said Al Naqbi.

Al Naqbi outlined the new developments in the third edition of the AWST, which will award the AWST Cup for the first time to the club that gains the most medals and the launching of a new slogan: "Your World, Your Court; Together Victorious".

Nezha Bidouane expressed her pleasure in being selected as guest of honour for the press conference and pointed out that this was not her first collaboration with the Women Sports Department at Sharjah Ladies Club. "I was also selected as a guest of honor in the Second Arab Women Sports Tournament in 2014. The 2014 edition enjoyed excellent organization and the sporting standard was very high. I call on Moroccan authorities to organize such events, and perhaps the Kingdom can host AWST in odd-numbered years, while Sharjah hosts it in even-numbered years," she said.

Bidouane, the world champion in 400 m hurdles for 1997 and 2001 and bronze medalist in Athens Olympic Games in 2000, also called upon all women’s clubs in Morocco to take part in AWST and encouraged all talented Moroccan women to take advantage of the developments seen in the field of women’s sports in the Arab world, in order to compete at a professional level. Bidouane thanked the media for their instrumental role in encouraging women’s sports and fueling the success of AWST and she wished the Organizing Committee all the best in organizing the new edition.

AWST’s first edition was held in 2012, and the second in 2014. The tournament was inspired by the success of a series of sports events organized by Sharjah Ladies Club under the title "Gulf Countries Competition", which saw great participation from all GCC countries. This success inspired Sheikha Jawaher to extend her directions to organise the Arab Women Sports Tournament, thus opening the participation to include all Arab countries in a biennial event in Sharjah.

AWST is organized by the Women Sports Department at Sharjah Ladies Club, in collaboration with the General Authority of Youth & Sports Welfare, and the National Olympic Committee of the United Arab Emirates. It is also adopted by the Council or Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports, the Arab League, and the The Union of Arab National Olympic Committees.

AWST - Sharjah 2016 is sponsored by Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) as a Golden Sponsor.

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