Future is promising, says first woman president of UAE athletics federation

Dubai, Sahar Al Obad, the first female President of the UAE Athletics Federation, stressed that it was normal to see a woman heading the federation of the athletics, highly perceived as a male-dominated sport.

“For me, becoming the first woman to head the UAEAF is a culmination of the UAE’s vision for the empowerment of women,” she said.

“Emirati women are already assuming high positions. We have women ministers, Federal National Council members, doctors, pilots and so on,” she told Emirates news agency WAM. She was appointed to the post last year.

Emirati women are very fortunate, thanks to the visionary approach of the country’s leadership and the unlimited support of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), she added.

“I encourage all women in the Emirates, to get active in sports and I believe we are well qualified and positioned to lead in this field,” she said.

Sahar attributed her choice of athletics to being born an athlete.

“I am a born athlete. Before joining the management, I had played basketball and practiced running. I have been a UAEAF member for 12 years and prior to that, I headed the women committee for the UAE Basketball Association. After graduating from university in 2000, I became a member of Women’s Sports Committee in Sharjah Women’s Club,” she said.

Highlighting her priorities as President of the UAEAF, Sahar said that she and the other members of the federation have been engaged in setting goals for advancing and promoting athletics in the UAE.

“We have 22 clubs that are currently active in various competitions and we have the right pool of young and talented athletes. All I can say now is that the future looks promising for UAE athletics. Last month, we organised four cross country races in Meliha, Khorfakkan and Al Jazira Al Hamra and last Friday, we also held the Vice President’s Cup Championship for all age groups and the results were very positive.”

In February, the UAEAF will officially start the local season for track and field, with competitions in sprints, middle distance, and long-distance track, as well as shot put, discus, javelin, and hammer throw.

The UAE will also take part in regional and international championships in Kuwait, Tunisia and China, she said.

Source: Bahrain News Agency