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Nada Zeidan living an Olympic dream

First female Arab rally driver Nada Zeidan carries the Olympic torch and hopes to participate

  • Nada Zeidan carries the Olympic torch
    Proud moment: Nada Zeidan carries the Olympic torch in London last week.Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • Nada Zeidan carries the Olympic torch
    Nada Zeidan, first female rally driver from the Gulf.Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • Nada Zeidan carries the Olympic torch
    Torchbearer: Nada Zeidan in Dubai during the Middle-East Rally ChampionshipImage Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The name Nada Zeidan may not immediately strike a chord with sports fans in this region, unless of course you happened to see or hear of her win in the Middle-East Rally Championship in Dubai back in 2004.

The first female rally driver in the Middle East, who also participated in the 2002 Busan and 2006 Doha Asian Games in, hold your breath – Archery - recently realised a life-long dream, of being part of the Olympics when she was selected as a torchbearer to carry the Olympic flame in the UK as it makes its way towards London for the July 27-August 12 extravaganza.

“I am really grateful for this opportunity to realise a dream,” Nada told XPRESS in an interview from Doha.

“Like everyone else I have dreamt of taking part in the Olympics and even though I haven’t participated in the competitions proper, this was a great way of being a part of it and I am grateful to Samsung for this,” she added.

The 30-year-old started shooting arrows in 2001 but changed track in 2004 when she decided to try her hand at rallying. “I participated in the 2002 Busan Asian Games in archery but decided to get into rallying and won three Ladies Cups in the Middle East Rally Championships in Lebanon, Syria and Dubai. Injury played a part in my decision to change sport, but the president of Qatar Olympic Committee persuaded me to get back to archery again for our home Asian Games in 2006,” she said.

But despite the experience of carrying the Olympic flame, Nada does have a tinge of regret in not being part in the Olympics competition. “I was looking for a wildcard in archery for a couple of previous editions of the Olympics, but the federation did not send my name, I have no idea why,” she said.

Her current occupation is listed as operation theatre nurse and yet she says she gets the time to pursue sports.

“I am into horse-riding and swimming these days. I am good at the former and I may still be representing Qatar in Olympics, who knows,” she said.

Being the first female rally driver in the Middle East has understandably brought with it a lot of responsibility and Nada is happy to do her bit. “Back in my time, there were hardly any sportswomen from the GCC countries, but look at things now. I am still trying to encourage women in the region to take up any sport of their choice especially if it is not against any religion or culture,” she said.



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