Hasna Al-Hammad: The Saudi Fencer Writing History One Hit At A Time
Hasna Al-Hammad leads a career full of exceptional successes and achievements...
A young athlete with still a long career ahead of her, Hasna Al-Hammad has already made her mark on the world by earning a gold medal in fencing, making her the first female fencer in the history of Saudi Arabia to do so. Still in the prime of her athleticism, Al Hammad has participated in many championships, raising the Kingdom’s flag high in Kuwait, Jordan, and the Philippines, and doing so in only the past two years. Earlier this year, Al Hammad joined 62 female fencers in Kuwait to participate in the sixth edition for Women’s Sports in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, marking the largest female delegation in the history of Saudi sports.
Her love for fencing has led her to call on other Saudi girls to not only participate in this challenging sport but to also prove themselves in athletics as they would with any other field or role they chose to pursue. Al Hammad sat down recently with Sayidaty to discuss female participation in sports in Saudi Arabia, the reasons she chose to become a fencer, and the many achievements she has made for herself and her country.
Al Hammad’s love of sports began at a very young age, when she was just five years old. “I was keen on enrolling in specialized courses for swimming, tennis, and basketball, and I also practiced football in school. I eventually started fencing and ballet at some point, and received a lot of admiration and encouragement from those around me. Until today, I am very thankful for all the support I was shown throughout my journey, especially by my friends,” she explained.
The young fencer also discussed why she settled on fencing despite engaging in many other sports, saying, “A year and a half ago during the summer vacation, I started practicing fencing and discovered an instant love for it, from it being obviously a beneficial sport in general, to the beautiful methods it entails, to even the elegant gear. I couldn’t but help be enthusiastic about it and it evoked in me – and still does – this undying competitive spirit.
National And International Achievements
Speaking about her participation in four local tournaments and 12 international championships, Al Hammad explained, “My first international championship was the Arab Championship in Jordan, in which I took home silver, the first women's silver medal in the history of Saudi fencing. I also participated in the Arab Championship in Kuwait, where I received the gold medal, marking another first in the history of Saudi women's fencing. I’ve also participated in numerous other competitions, such as in the Arab Championship in Tunisia, the Asian Championships in the Philippines, and the Asian Tour in Riyadh, where I also took home gold.”
With regards to being seen as an inspiration for other Saudi girls, Al Hammad urged anyone interested in fencing to pursue it wholeheartedly, and she encourages girls to practice other sports they may be interested in, saying, “Find your passion; you might discover it in fencing or any other sport. Join championships, raise your flag high, and listen to your national anthem. It is in those eternal moments that you will feel great pride and a great sense of responsibility towards your country.”
Regarding the challenges she has encountered during her journey as a leading female fencer, Al Hammad said, “I encountered some difficulties while practicing this sport especially when it came to juggling my studies, dealing with the pressure and with exams. But thank God, I had the full support of my school administration. They sent me my lessons when I couldn’t be in class, and past lessons would be explained to me upon my return from travels.”
She also touched on the increasing opportunities being made available to girls and women in Saudi Arabia with regards to sports, as well as how the country’s fencing federation is working hard to provide support to fencers of all levels, so that they can achieve their personal goals and achieve the best results for the nation as a whole. She went on to explain that, for her, the best way to get everyone onboard with being active in sports is by opening sports and recreational centers in every region and every city across Saudi Arabia, and that she hoped one day to see Saudi Arabia hosting the Olympic Games.