As Tokyo 2020 unfolds, bringing the best sportsmen and women from across the globe to compete against each other and carry their nation’s flag high, Saudi Arabians are cheering on one particular young women who is no doubt inspiring a generation of young aspiring athletes. Tahani Al-Qahtani is amongst the 33 Saudi Arabian athletes taking part in this year’s Olympic Games and she competing in the female judo category. She is joined by fellow athlete Suleiman Hammad who qualified for the judo male category.
In 2018, Al-Qahtani had her first experience in judo at the King Saud University in Riyadh. Throughout her training, she looked up to professional judokas as her role models while setting high standards throughout her career. In a recent article in Saudi Gazette, the young Olympian explained that, for her, judo is not only a sport but a passion, “as I adore every detail of it and I continue practicing on a daily basis and do my best to achieve the highest benefits."
Al-Qahtani is a firm believer in starting off early when it comes to her sport of choice, although she also acknowledges that it's still okay to start from any other age. However, the younger an athlete starts, she believes, the faster and better they will be to get a full grasp of the sport, and love every part of it.
This month, Al-Qahtani successfully qualified to compete at this year's Olympics games as the Kingdom's female judoka. The announcement was made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) prior to the young athlete taking part at the opening ceremony. She received overwhelming support from fellow Saudi spectators all around, especially as she insisted on facing off with Israel's Raz Hershko at the +78 kg category on July 30th.
In line with the kingdom's Vision 2030, Al-Qahtani's success as a professional judoka was made possible due to Saudi efforts to train more female athletes in various fields of sports. In fact, Al-Qahtani is looking forward to being among the next Saudi athletes to inspire others in achieving their goals.
"My dream is to become a sports expert and to train Saudi women in judo, raise a full team of my country’s daughters to compete at international platforms, and to raise the banner of my dear country with pride at all forums," she was quoted in an article by the Saudi Gazette.