What Does It Mean to Be a Sportswoman in Saudi Arabia? Listen In!
A Saudi kickboxer on what it means to pursue sports in Saudi Arabia today.
Video Editor & Creative Inputs: Rahul Sanpui
Graphics: Harsh Sahani & Mehul Tyagi
Saudi Arabia is becoming increasingly open to women entering sports.
In 2012, Saudi women athletes participated in the Olympics for the very first time. 2012 was also the year that FIFA lifted the ban on hijab for women football players.
Earlier in 2018, Saudi Arabia opened its football stadiums to women football fans. Saudi women celebrated International Women’s Day by exercising their right to jog, which was granted to them in 2018 as well.
Saudi is now home to a women’s basketball team, several running collectives, and gyms.
In the second episode of ‘Have Voice Will Talk’, we caught up with Halah Alhamrani, co-owner of Saudi Arabia’s first female combat gym called ‘FLAGboxing’, where ‘FLAG’ stands for #FightLikeAGirl.
#FightLikeAGirl: Saudi Arabia’s #MeToo Movement?
#FightLikeAGirl is a powerful hashtag. It’s may even count as Saudi Arabia’s own #MeToo movement.
To fight like a girl means to be proud of the strength within you and to not feel the need to compare yourself to the opposite sex because we are just as powerful and just as capable as men. We should embrace that strength.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
#FightLikeAGirl is a mantra and a mission for Halah and the women who run ‘FLAGboxing’.
Halah Alhamrani: Kickboxer and Supermom
For Halah, a typical day at the gym begins as early as 7:30 am and ends quite late in the evening. As her weekdays are usually action-packed, here’s what Halah does in her spare time.
In my spare time, I spend as much time with my 8-year-old son as I possibly can. I love going to the beach. I practise any type of sport that I want in my spare time as well.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
Want a lesson in work-life balance? This is what Halah has to say about managing her career and spending time with her son.
I definitely do balance work and motherhood. My son is my life and so is my job and I try to balance both equally. Sometimes one gets in the way of the other but that’s okay. For the most part, I’ve found a balance between being a mother and being a businesswoman.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
“Some People Are Unhappy with the Changes”
Halah is quite the supermom besides being a successful businesswoman at the age of 41. She is also a major social media influencer with several thousand followers on Instagram.
Social media has played a huge role in getting more women in Saudi Arabia interested in practising combat sports.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
I started teaching about 15 years ago, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago, when I started putting my journey on social media, that people started to take interest and become aware of what I do.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
Halah is also aware that the changes that are occurring for Saudi women are the result of a long struggle and there are definitely some people who are unhappy to see them happening.
There is part of the population that is unhappy with the changes happening in Saudi Arabia. But I think what we have going for us is that 70 percent of the population is 30 years or younger. So that’s going to make it easier for the changes that are occurring.Halah Alhamrani, Kickboxer and Fitness Trainer
(‘Have Voice Will Talk’ is a podcast that connects you with people who have something to say. Sifting through digital noise, we bring you unique voices on issues that matter. Hey, you’re one story away from seeing the world afresh!)
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