Sheikha Jawaher witnesses opening of fifth Arab Women Sports Tournament
AWST 2020 has recorded the largest-ever GCC participation in the tournament's history
Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of Sharjah Women's Sports (SWS), witnessed the opening ceremony of the fifth edition of Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) on Sunday.
A record number of 78 clubs from 18 Arab countries will participate in AWST 2020. The tournament is organised by SWS and runs until February 12 across various sporting venues in Sharjah.
Media sports personality, Mustafa Al Agha, was the official host of the opening ceremony, which took place at the Sharjah Sports Club. The inaugural proceedings began with the UAE National Anthem, followed by the official flag raising ceremony of participating countries and the official athletes and referees pledge. The ceremony also entertained audience and attendees with an attractive light shows and performances that highlighted the various offerings of AWST 2020 to the audience.
This was followed by AWST 2020 anthem 'Arab Women', performed by Extraordinaire Goodwill Ambassador and well-known Emirati singer, Hussain Al Jassmi. The anthem is an ode to the growing status of Arab women's sports, and lauds Sharjah's role as an incubator for female athletes.
Welcoming all participating Arab nations to Sharjah, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi highlighted the regional importance of the tournament, and the key role it plays in supporting sportswomen's dreams and ambitions.
Sheikha Jawaher thanked His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for continuously supporting women through directives to provide all that is necessary to empower them in all fields.
Wishing all participants the best for AWST 2020, Her Highness noted: "Through your determination and intensive efforts, you and your peers in the Arab world have achieved many feats that make us proud. Arab sportswomen are successfully changing the realities of the region by following their dreams with resolve; rewriting traditional narratives of duty and achievement attributed to Arab women. This tournament furthers Sharjah's commitment to making sports more inclusive and accessible to women, a pillar of the region's development journey and a bridge between cultures."
AWST 2020 has recorded the largest-ever GCC participation in the tournament's history. The UAE tops this list with 15 clubs who will be competing across AWST's nine sporting categories: shooting, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, athletics, show jumping, fencing, archery and karate.
The next biggest participation is by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with 12 clubs who are represented in all sports except shooting. A total of eight clubs from Bahrain will partake in all games excluding show jumping. Six Kuwaiti clubs are participating in shooting, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, athletics and karate, while three clubs from Oman will compete in shooting and athletics.
Sportswomen from six Jordanian clubs will be aiming for top spots in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, athletics, show jumping, and karate. Seven Algerian clubs will be represented in volleyball, table tennis, archery, karate, shooting and basketball categories, while Libya will participate in table tennis, athletics, and karate. Four clubs from Egypt will compete in shooting, basketball, table tennis, fencing and karate.
Three Syrian clubs will take part in volleyball, basketball and karate, while Sudanese athletes will compete in athletics, show jumping and archery. Palestinian sportswomen will test their might in athletics and karate. Iraq and Morocco too will participate in only one sport each, archery and table tennis, respectively. Lebanese and Union of the Comoros sportswomen will compete in showjumping.
The ceremony was attended by Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports in Egypt; Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Head of SOC; Prince Talal bin Badr bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of the Arabian Sports Council (ASC) and Chairman of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees (UANOC); Sheikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, Chairperson of AWST's Preparatory Committee; Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Sports Council; Eng. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the Arab and UAE Fencing Federation; Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of the SOC of AWST, Head of the Executive Committee and Director General of SWS; and a host of high-profile officials and media representatives.
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