Saudi Arabia has achieved yet another milestone in its journey towards transformation as it kicks off its first-ever 10-kilometer cycling race for women. The event took place in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and saw some 47 female cyclists compete as part of the “Be Active” initiative, part of Saudi Arabia’s tribute to World Health Day 2018.
Winners received trophies and medals by the General Sports Authority at King Abdullah Sports City. The bicycle race is being held a few weeks after Mecca hosted the first women’s marathon in Saudi Arabia in partnership with Al Wehda Sports Club.
Held this year under the general theme of “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere,” the cycling event is part of the Kingdom’s push towards a healthier and more active society, with a particular focus on women’s health. Saudi Arabia has embarked on reforming its social and economic spheres through Vision 2030, an ambitious national strategy to diversify its oil-dependent economy spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Under Vision 2030, the easing of social and business restrictions, the rejuvenation of various sectors, and the provision of opportunities for women to enter the job market have been made key priorities. As part of its Vision, Saudi Arabia has also appointed several women to leadership positions and top jobs in the Kingdom’s various sectors.
In October last year, Princess Reema Bint Bandar Bin Sultan was appointed President of a Saudi Federation for Community Sports, becoming the first woman in the Kingdom to lead a federation covering sporting activities for both men and women. Throughout her career, the Princess has been working hard on increasing female participation in sports in Saudi Arabia. Speaking at the MiSK Global Forum in 2016, Princess Reema explained the importance of women in sports, pointing to women’s participation as having the potential to create a substantial 250,000 jobs.
“It’s time to include women in sports for a healthier society and a productive economy,” she said. (Photos: courtesy of Al Arabiya)