Many young people often choose sports in school based on their passion, but for certain individuals, it presents a challenging decision. Lamya Al-Nahdi faced a similar dilemma despite trying various sports; eventually, choosing basketball.
After dedicating over a decade to honing her skills in basketball, Al-Nahdi has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first Saudi international basketball referee in the history of the Kingdom. This accomplishment comes on the heels of her successful completion of the international basketball federation FIBA's rigorous test to qualify as an international basketball referee.
Reflecting on her journey, Al-Nahdi shared the extensive preparation and training she underwent in both the technical aspects of basketball and the relevant regulations. She regards her position as a pioneering Saudi international basketball referee as an honor as well as a considerable responsibility.
During her basketball journey, Al-Nahdi managed to graduate from Dar Al-Hekma University with a degree in human resources management. Subsequently, she spent five years working in human resources before venturing into her family's business, where she assumed the role of business development manager for Blooming, a company for women's apparel started by Saudi women.
Al-Nahdi's accreditation as the first Saudi international basketball referee reflects the Saudi Sport Federation's efforts to uplift Saudi women in sport, especially Saudi female referees, and to encourage Saudi women both domestically and abroad. Al-Nahdi expressed her appreciation for the growing focus on female participation in sports, specifically highlighting basketball's popularity among Saudi women. She believes that this sport has garnered substantial attention among her fellow Saudi females, surpassing other athletic pursuits.
Saudi women have achieved success in both competitive and leisure sports thanks to policies that support women's participation in sports and offer employment opportunities in a variety of sports disciplines, including basketball and football. According to Al-Nahdi, the present moment is ripe for pursuing aspirations, especially within the Saudi sports sector, given the existing support framework. She encourages aspiring individuals, emphasizing that self-belief is the foremost and crucial step towards achievement, followed closely by surrounding oneself with a supportive network.
Her groundbreaking achievement as the first Saudi international basketball referee has been met with enthusiastic reception. The Saudi Embassy in the US took to Twitter to announce her accreditation and commend the efforts of the Saudi Basketball Federation in empowering and endorsing Saudi female referees on a local and global scale. Al-Nahdi's accomplishment aligns with the appointment of Saudi Arabia's first female international referee for football, Anoud Al-Asmari, by FIFA in January of the same year. This milestone was achieved less than a year after the debut of Saudi Arabia's national women's football team.