Cairo: Ten Saudi women have participated for the first time in the kingdom’s cycling championship which was held this week in Abha in southern Saudi Arabia.
Saudi contestant Ahlam Nasser Al Zaid claimed the title of the event held under the supervision of the Saudi Cycling Federation. She completed the 13-kilometre race in 22:18 minutes in the first tournament for the individual race against the clock in which women in Saudi Arabia participated.
“A dream come true,” Ahlam said in a tweet. “Winning the title of the kingdom’s title has been my dream since my beginning in the cycling sport. I’m proud to be the first title holder in the history of this sport in the kingdom,” she added.
Coming second in the event was Al Anoud Khamis Al Majid who covered the distance in 25:39 minutes, followed by Alaa Salem Al Zahrani with 26:57 minutes and Nura Al Sheikh with 27.07 minutes.
The 10 contestants came from different parts of Saudi Arabia and were aged between 16 to 65 years, according to media reports.
The eldest participant in the championship was Awatef Al Qunbit while the youngest was Batul Ahmed.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost women’s engagement in public life.
In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, as part of wide social and economic reforms championed by young Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
Saudi authorities have also allowed women to travel without a male guard’s approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.
Women are also allowed into stadiums to watch football matches, the country’s most popular sport.