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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. Rana Abu Harbesh
Rana Abu Harbesh is a badminton athlete who competed at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
4. Shatha Saleh Al-MutairiShatha Saleh Al-Mutairi is a badminton athlete who competed at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
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. Sara Mokhtar
Sara Mokhtar is a certified Kyokushin karate, kickboxing and Aikido instructor. She is also an assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University.
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.
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. 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. 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.
11. Hasna Al-Hamad
Hasna Al-Hamad is the first Saudi female fencer to represent KSA and win the Arab fencing championship.
12. Asmaa Al-Yemeni
Asmaa Al-Yemeni is the founder of the first speed walking all-female team in Riyadh.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.