Saudi basketballers
From left: Rasha Abdo, Awrad Ahmed and Rand Khalid. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Sport is all about following one’s passion. The Arab Women’s Sports Tournament has provided the right platform for several aspiring women to play, excel and enjoy in their selected arena. Among the many inspiring stories emerging from Sharjah courts, three Arab women from different backgrounds have showed the way of how to keep their passion going despite hectic schedules.  

Among them the journey of Rasha Abdo, a 34-year-old basketball player from Jordan, stands out. She leads her team, the Al Fuheis Club, as captain and reigning champion of the tournament while also managing motherhood’s responsibilities.

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The UAE resident’s story is a vivid reminder of the strength and determination that women bring to the sports arena, balancing professional commitments with personal life seamlessly.

Her message is clear. “Never settle, pursue your dreams passionately and remember that nothing is impossible,” said the 34-year-old as her team Al Fuheis registered their fourth consecutive win in the basketball event this year to move one step away from booking a place in the final.

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Rasha Abdo's journey began at the tender age of eight when she found her passion on the basketball court. Image Credit: Supplied

Balancing sport with personal life

The journey of Rasha Abdo began at the tender age of eight when she found her passion on the basketball court. Although a UAE resident, she has travelled to represent her club with unwavering dedication for over a decade. Her path has not been easy, balancing a demanding sport with her personal life, especially as a mother. Yet, her determination and love for basketball have seen her through, proving that with enough will, there’s always a way.

Her team’s performance in the seventh Arab Women’s Sports Tournament has been nothing short of stellar, defending their title with focus and grit. As the eldest and most experienced player, her role extends beyond just scoring points; she is a mentor, an inspiration, and a testament to the evolving landscape of sports for Arab women. Throughout her career, she witnessed first-hand the emergence of local talents within the Arab world, moving away from a reliance on imported players, marking a significant shift towards embracing and nurturing home-grown athletes.

Beyond her achievements on the court, her life is a powerful example for young girls everywhere. Balancing a career, family, and personal passions is challenging, yet she makes it is possible.

Saudi basketballers Awrad Ahmed (left) and Rand Khalid Image Credit: A.K.S. Satish/Gulf News

Her advice, especially to young girls, resonates with the lessons learnt from a lifetime in sports: the importance of teamwork, dealing with diverse personalities, and invaluable time management skills. These lessons extend far beyond basketball, applying to all areas of life. She hopes to set an example for her daughters and young women everywhere, showing that it is possible to excel in sports, education, and career, all while raising a family.

Held under the patronage of Chairperson of Sharjah Women’s Sports Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the ongoing edition of Arab Women Sports Tournament features the participation of 560 athletes and 63 teams from 15 Arab countries, competing across eight disciplines, including basketball, volleyball, table tennis, shooting, archery, athletics, karate, and fencing until February 12.

Shining example

While Rasha Abdo is an inspiration for the Arab women, Rand Khalid is aiming to be the shining example for Saudi Arabia.

“We are happy and proud to be representing my country and very happy that it is getting more attention for women and very excited for the future,” said Rand Khalid, who represented the Saudi Capital club in the basketball.

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Rasha Abdo is a 34-year-old basketball player from Jordan and leads her team the Al Fuheis Club.

Capital team started playing basketball four years ago when she was in college and now is able to focus more on her sport after completing her graduation last year. The dentist has taken a break from her internship to play in Sharjah for the first time.

“We want to showcase our talent and our passion and our hard work,” Rand Khalid added.

Though their calculations didn’t go the right way, mathematician Awrad Ahmed feels that their participation in the UAE will inspire more women in Saudi Arabia to take up the sport.

“I’m thankful and happy to be here in Sharjah, to show the girls in Saudi Arabia that they can be like us. My goal is to win lots of awards and be the best in the sport,” said the graduate in Mathematics and who is also coach at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh.

Rasha, Rand and Award exemplify the resilience and ambition that the tournament celebrates.