Najah during a practice session in her gym. Image Credit: Screengrab

Cairo: Saudi woman Najah Al Hassan has been infatuated with boxing for more than a decade. Now she is a professional who has her own business as more women in the kingdom are making forays into once-male dominated sport.

“My dream started in 2006. I used to train in boxing at home. The dream came true in 2021,”the young woman said.

The way for Najah was not smooth, though.

”In the beginning, some members of society were not receptive to this game especially it was for women. But this concept changed later,” she told Saudi TV Al Ekhbariya.

Najah started her business with around SR1 million, and received financial support from the Saudi state Development Bank in setting up a gym for female boxing.

Promising future

She sounds upbeat over the future of the sport in her homeland. “The future is very promising. I see the road ahead bright for boxing,” she said.

In recent months, Saudi media has featured tales of women successfully running their own businesses amid massive socio-economic transformations in the country.

Earlier this year, Al Ekhbariya reported about a group of women, who have joined hands and set up the first publishing house run by females in Saudi Arabia.

The house was launched more than four years ago printing and publishing books by women authors.

Recalling the birth of the house, Nawara Al Maghrabi, a co-founder, told the television: “My partner in the project happened to be in the US preparing for such a project. I was also in the kingdom working on the same. We met and discussed the project.”

They later initiated what Nawara described as the first publishing house set up by Saudi women.

The house encourages female beginner writers.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has vigorously pursued a drive to empower women in different walks of life as part of dramatic changes in the kingdom.

In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, ending a decades-old ban on female driving.

In another move enhancing women’s empowerment, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel without a male guard’s approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.

Two female ambassadors were among 11 Saudi envoys, who took the oath of office before King Salman bin Abdul Aziz in January.