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Determined and Inspiring: 50 Saudi Women in Sports

Over the past year, Saudi Arabia has been witnessing the rise of the female athlete. From football to motorcar racing, kickboxing to diving, women across the Kingdom have been stepping up to the challenge and representing the country in various tournaments regionally and beyond. As part of Saudi Arabia’s push to advocate for more female participation in sports and develop a more inclusive sports environment for them, the country also appointed Princess Reema Bint Bandar last year to head the Saudi Federation for Community Sports (SFCS), making her the first woman in the Kingdom to take on such an important role.

To mark this transformative period in Saudi Arabia’s history that has been made possible through the realization of Vision 2030, an ambitious plan to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and modernize its society, AboutHer.com has compiled a list of top female athletes from across the Kingdom. This top 50 list, which celebrates Saudi Arabia’s most inspiring female sports figures, was consolidated by a panel of experts in the field of sports.

The Committee
Riyan Al-Jidani

Riyan Al-Jidani is a sports, media and cultural affairs reporter, and a writer specialized in women's sports and Asian football at Kooora.com. He has also authored a book on Japanese Football.

Rehab Otaibi
Rehab is the director of the Riyadh Football Club and the Riyadh Foundation for Educational Development Services in sports. She holds a diploma in sports management, is a researcher in the field of women's empowerment in sports, and she founded the accredited training committee for football programs and courses in the Kingdom.
 

Haifa Mohamed

Other than being a basketball and soccer player, Haifa is also a trainer in basketball and other fitness fields. She is the receiver of a community sports incentive certificate, and is currently pursuing a law degree.
 

Lama Basri

Basri is a sports physical therapist with a concentration in preventative measures as well as intervention-based measures in athletics. She is also a member of the Saudi Federation of Sports Medicine, and has a Master’s degree in Motion Analysis and Motor Control from New York University. 

Click 'Begin Slideshow' to see the full list (in no particular order) of 50 Saudi Women in Sports.

1 of 50
1. Norah Almarri

Norah Almarri is the frst female Taekwando athlete to represent the kingdom in Taikwando in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. She has also competed in several international competitions.

2 of 50
2. Kariman Abuljadayel

Kariman Abuljadayel is a sprinting athlete and the first Saudi woman to compete in the 100 meters at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

3 of 50
3. Rana Abu Harbesh

Rana Abu Harbesh is a badminton athlete who competed at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

4 of 50
4. Shatha Saleh Al-Mutairi
Shatha Saleh Al-Mutairi is a badminton athlete who competed at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
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5. Amal Baatia

Amal Baatia is a fitness coach specialized in Crossfit and Calisthenics, and a board member of the Saudi Fitness and Wellness Federation.

6 of 50
6. Sara Mokhtar

Sara Mokhtar is a certified Kyokushin karate, kickboxing and Aikido instructor. She is also an assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University.

7 of 50
7. Yasmin Gahtani

Yasmin Gahtani is the first Saudi wall-climbing instructor certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, and a board member of the Saudi Climbing Association.

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8. Mariam Fardous

Mariam Fardous is the first Arab to dive in the North Pole, and the 3rd woman in the world to do so. She has a master scuba diver certification from the Blue Reef Divers in Jeddah, and has trained in specialized diving techniques in Russia. She also has 2 Master’s degrees in pediatrics from London and epidemiology from Riyadh.

9 of 50
9. Aseel Al-Hamad

Aseel Al Hamad is KSA’s representative of Women Motorsport. She is the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and is a member of the International Automobile federation.

10 of 50
10. Raghad Bu Arish

Raghad Bu Arish is a competing runner, and the Kingdom’s only female athlete to compete at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in the women’s 100 meters.

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11. Hasna Al-Hamad

Hasna Al-Hamad is the first Saudi female fencer to represent KSA and win the Arab fencing championship.

12 of 50
12. Asmaa Al-Yemeni

Asmaa Al-Yemeni is the founder of the first speed walking all-female team in Riyadh.

13 of 50
13. Rasha Al Khamis

Rasha Al-Khamis is the first certified Saudi female boxer. The trainer has also climbed two summits, broken a Guinness World Record, and holds boxing classes that empower and positively impact other women.

14 of 50
14. Raha Moharrak

Raha Moharrak is the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest. She also has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Vinson, Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kala Pattar, Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl.

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15. Lina Al Maeena

Lina Al Maeena is the founder of Jeddah United Basketball Club and the Jeddah United Sports Company, she also writes for espn.com. She was named one of the "200 Most Powerful Arab Women" by Forbes.

16 of 50
16. Adwa Al Arifi

Adwa Al Arifi is the first female committee member of the Saudi Football Federation, and is the founder of KSA’s first women's football team in Riyadh, Al Yamamah. She is a member of the Social Responsibility Committee, a consultant in the General Authority for Sport, and a member of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports.

17 of 50
17. Hala Al-Hamrani

Hala Al-Hamrani is a certified boxing trainer with a black belt in Jujutsu, which she earned at the age of 16. She has also founded a gym, FLAG Boxing - Fight Like a Girl, where she trains women in self-defense and other forms of boxing and martial arts.

18 of 50
18. Maram Al- Buteiri

Maram Al- Buteiri is the football coach of the Eastern Flame women’s team in Dhahran. She won the Best Coach Award in the Khalid Bin Hamad 2018 Women's Futsal Championship in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

19 of 50
19. Fatimah Al Baloushi

Fatimah Al Baloushi is a cycler and the founder of the Saudi cycling team, HerRide. She represented the country in the 2017 European Tour of the World Cycling Championship.

20 of 50
20. Nada Abed

Nada Abed is the first Saudi female fencer who won the bronze medal in the 2018 International Fencing Championship for the ‘under 15’ category in Jordan.

21 of 50
21. Duna Al-Ghamdi

Duna Al-Ghamdi is a boxer and the receiver of the gold medal in the 2018 International Boxing Championship held in the Jordanian province of Balqa.

22 of 50
22. Amjad Al-Omari

Amjad Al-Omari is Saudi Arabia's first karting champion. Al-Omari won the first place in the first karting race for women in Saudi, in the 2018 Petromin Karting Championship for women in Jeddah.

23 of 50
23. Moznah Al-Nassar

Moznah Al-Nassar is a track athlete who won the first women’s marathon in Saudi Arabia. Al-Nassar also represented her country in many international competitions like the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the 2018 Arab Women’s Games in Sharjah, UAE, and the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.

24 of 50
24. Mariam Al-Tameimi

Mariam Al-Tameimi is a 14-year-old who plays for the Eastern Flame women’s team. She has won the best player award in two consecutive rounds in the Khalid Bin Hamad 2018 Women's Futsal Championship in Bahrain.

25 of 50
25. Dalma Malhas

Dalma Malhas is the first Saudi woman to win an Olympic medal. She won the bronze medal in the singles jump at the 2010 Summer Youth Games in Singapore.

26 of 50
26. Munira Al-Hamdan

Munira Al-Hamdan is a football player who plays for the Eastern Flame women’s football team. Al-Hamdan has also played with the Bahraini team, Super Soccer, and has won the 2018 Sport Box championship and the third place in the 2016 Women's Futsal Championship in Bahrain.

27 of 50
27. Lamya Al Husail

Lamya Al Husail is a karting driver who won third place in the 2018 Petromin Karting Championship in Jeddah, the first women's karting competition to be held in Saudi Arabia. She is also the first Saudi architect specializing in the design of the circuitry and sports buildings.

28 of 50
28. Dima Fatani

Dima Fatani is a basketball player who contributed significantly to Jeddah United receiving the fair play award at the 2018 Arab Women's Games in Sharjah, UAE. She scored most of her team’s points in the basketball tournament.

29 of 50
29. Rasha Al-Harbi

Rasha Al-Harbi is the founder of the Place Runners team in Jeddah, where she has succeeded in spreading the culture of walking in Jeddah through organizing several races and awareness campaigns such as cleaning the streets of Jeddah and preserving the environment, to instil the idea that sports is a friend of nature.

30 of 50
30. Farah Al-Zahrani

Farah Al-Zahrani is a jujitsu sportswoman who represented her country at the 2018 Jujitsu Asian championship in Kazakhstan. She was ranked fourth in the White Belt category at the 2015 International Games for Professionals in Jujitsu in Abu Dhabi, UAE and currently has the Blue Belt.

31 of 50
31. Dana Al-Shahri

Dana Al-Shahri is a track athlete who represented KSA at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the 2018 Arab Women’s Games in Sharjah, UAE, and the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Dana Shahri ran two races in less than five days, the 400 and 200-meter races.

32 of 50
32. Asmaa Al-Sharif

Asmaa Al-Sharif is the coach and captain of Titanium, a women’s basketball team that participated and won several local tournaments inside and outside Riyadh.

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33. Sarah Attar

Sarah Attar is a runner that participated in the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. She also participated in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and was ranked 8th.

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34. Saja Kamal

Saja Kamal is the first Saudi football player to enter the Guinness World Records Book for playing in the highest altitude football match on Mount Kilimanjaro.

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35. Nada Abo Alnaja

Nada Abo Alnaja is the first Saudi woman to compete in an international championship for women in Squash and the first Saudi professional female athlete to compete in Saudi Arabia.

36 of 50
36. Lubna Alomair
Lubna Alomair is a Saudi female Olympic fencer who participated in the 2016 Olympic Games.
37 of 50
37. Rima Al Jafali
Rima Al Jafali is the first Saudi woman to participate and win the UAE YAS Motor Race. She is also one of three female drivers from the Gulf region who are licensed to race.
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38. Wojdan Shaherkani
Wojdan Shaherkani is the first Saudi woman to compete in Judo at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
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39. Jude Al-Fahmi
Jude Al-Fahmi is a judo athlete who participated at the women’s Judo competition at the 2016 Olympics Games.
40. Mariam Polding
40 of 50
Mariam Polding is the founder of the Sweet Spot Tennis Academy, the first and only academy endorsed by the Saudi Olympic Committee to train girls in Tennis. She also owns gyms in Saudi Arabia and London.
41 of 50
41. Reham Afandi
Reham Afandi is a certified Zumba instructor licensed to teach high-intensity workout classes and Zumba for young children. She is also a breast cancer survivor who uses her classes for motivational talks.
42 of 50
42. Wud Shaikh
Wud Shaikh is the first Saudi female trainer in Taekwondo. She received her black belts from Britain, Jeddah and Korea.
43 of 50
43. Nouf Marwai
Nouf Marwai is a certified Saudi yoga instructor. She is the head of the Arab Yoga Foundation and has trained more than 3,000 Saudi and expat yoga enthusiasts in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.
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44. Suad Aqeel al-Buqami
Suad Aqeel al-Buqami is a part of 'Link' -- a women’s basketball team that participated in 7 local tournaments. She represents the team in free throw competitions, and has won the first place from between 8 teams.
45 of 50
45. Amani Al-Ghamdi
Amani Al-Ghamdi is a soccer and volleyball player. She participated and won in many local competitions, including the first place in a bowling competition in Jeddah.
46 of 50
46. Al Jawhara bint Abdulaziz Al Saud
Al Jawhara bint Abdulaziz Al Saud is the founder of and player in Al-Yatta women’s basketball team in Riyadh. She won the MVP in the Prince Sultan basketball league, and was given an award for being the highest scorer in the first Riyadh basketball league.
47 of 50
47. Aya Shata
Aya Shata is one of Saudi Arabia’s youngest gymnasts. She competed in several contests including Spartan Arabia in 2017, and is the receiver of many certifications from the Dynamic Code Center sports club in Jeddah.
48 of 50
48. Rawh Abdullah Arfaj
Rawh Abdullah Arfaj is a football player and trainer with a FIFA C license. She was named the best female player in the 2012 Riyadh Women's Football Championship. She held many posts in the field and is the receiver of numerous awards.
49 of 50
49. Amira Al Agha
Amira Al Agha is a martial arts professional with a black belt in Taekwondo. She competed and won a black medal in a competition in Jordan.
50 of 50
50. Sultana bint Turki bin Saud Al Saud
Sultana bint Turki bin Saud Al Saud’s passion for basketball began when she was just 13. She played countless tournaments throughout the Middle East and was nominated MVP five times in different leagues. Her biggest achievement was during the first women's basketball tournament in the Kingdom in 2018, where she was rewarded the title of highest scorer.

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