Leena Al Maeena Image Credit: Al Marsad

Manama: History will be made in Saudi Arabia on Saturday with the launch of the first official basketball tournament for women.

Jeddah United, Dar Al Hekma University, University of Business and Technology, DFAC, Braves and Shoot for Cause will be fielding teams for the matches to be played in King Abdullah Sports City in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah.

"We are grateful for the approval of such special women's sports championships," Leena Al Maeena, Member of the Shura Council, said. "It is nice to participate in an important day for women and to educate them for the sake of eliminating breast cancer through a sports tournament held for the first time in Saudi Arabia," she said, quoted by Saudi news site Al Marsad.

The tournament will be sponsored by the General Sports Authority and the Ministry of Health.

"I hope such tournaments will continue and I am confident that this one will be successful as the strongest women's basketball clubs in Jeddah will be playing," Leena said.

Only women will be allowed to watch the games on Saturday and tickets will cost SR100, the report said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia said it would allow women to watch matches in the main stadiums in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam starting January 1.

The breakthrough decision was seen a major boost for women.

It came a few days after Saudi Arabia said that women would be allowed to drive in June following intense preparations to facilitate the process.

In July, the education ministry said that female students were to take physical education classes at school.

Leena Al Maeena is one of the 30 women who sit on the 150-seat Shura Council. She has hit headlines for deploying great efforts to empower Saudi women through sports.

She is credited with founding Jeddah United, Saudi Arabia’s first private female basketball club, in 2003.