JEDDAH: For some younger Saudis, the virtues of 1 specific sport — fencing — have turned out to be nothing in need of life-affirming.
“Fencing taught me persistence, justice and anger administration,” stated 21-year-old ladies’s fencer Ruba Al-Masri.
Within the elegant centuries-old sport, it appears she has, alongside many younger Saudi feminine athletes, discovered her calling.
Impressed by her father’s athletic profession, Al-Masri took up fencing three years in the past, and has since claimed silver and gold medals in native and worldwide championships.
“From a younger age, I used to see photos of my father and the medals that he achieved throughout his profession,” Al-Masri instructed Arab Information. “My household have been my first supporters to inform me to comply with the footsteps of my father and start my journey.”
Since Saudi ladies first took half within the 2016 Olympics, the nation has witnessed growing feminine participation in sports activities. And fencing has turned out to be essentially the most engaging.
“Till now, the variety of Saudi feminine fencers exceeded 200, and work has been performed this yr to graduate the primary 5 feminine referees within the historical past of Saudi fencing,” President of the Saudi Arabian Fencing Federation Ahmed Al-Sabban instructed Arab Information.
Girls’s participation within the sport started as just lately as 2015 within the Japanese Province, Al-Sabban stated, including that feminine fencers from the area traveled to Bahrain to follow the game. A kind of fencers, Lubna Al-Omair, was chosen to participate within the 2016 Olympics.
“After that, about three ladies’s academies have been established, ranging from 2017 in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam,” he stated. “We’re working to have feminine fencing academies in all areas of the Kingdom.”
Fencing has been practiced within the Kingdom because the Sixties, Al-Sabban stated, pointing to its origins on the Seven Palaces Colleges in Jeddah. Many expatriates who moved to Dhahran after the invention of oil within the Kingdom additionally performed a task in introducing the game to Saudis.
In keeping with Al-Sabban, the game first turned fashionable within the Japanese Province and Tabuk, after which unfold to all areas of the nation. At present, the Saudi Fencing Federation operates academies in Jeddah, Riyadh, Taif, Madinah, Tabuk and the Japanese Province.
The arduous work has paid off.
Al-Masri started fencing in April 2018 when she joined the Summer time Olympic Fencing Program launched by the Saudi Fencing Federation.
“Fencing is an thrilling, attention-grabbing sport,” stated Al-Masri “It improves the participant persona when it comes to dedication and accuracy.”
She added that the game “requires use of all of the senses concurrently, which improves one’s fast wit and remark.”
Coupled with the advantages of bodily exercise, fencing can enhance basic well being, she stated.
From the outset, Al-Masri was fascinated by the individuality of the game when it comes to gear, outfits and methods.
“Truthfully, some of the engaging issues I discovered on this sport was the class of the fencing outfit, and the way it’s totally different from different sports activities,” she stated. “I additionally discover it snug as a result of it covers virtually your entire physique.”
After profitable a gold within the first Girls’s Fencing Championship within the Kingdom, Al-Masri has gone on to symbolize Saudi Arabia internationally in Egypt, Tunisia, Kuwait, Jordan and the Philippines.
“I additionally realized that success doesn’t begin solely from the primary gold medal,” she added. “As an alternative, it begins with persistence and progress.”
Now Al-Masri has ambitions to take part within the Tokyo Olympics and has set her sights on changing into the primary Saudi girl to win a gold medal. She additionally desires to attain success in Asian championships and the Fencing World Cup.
“Fencing doesn’t require particular bodily standards, due to this fact everybody can follow it at any age,” she stated. “Nevertheless, it’s preferable to begin younger if you wish to be a champion.”
Al-Sabban agreed, saying that there are not any stipulations for studying fencing. Nevertheless, he stated that there are optimum practices that may assist fencers succeed, resembling day by day coaching, wholesome vitamin, health and good sleep.
“The Saudi Fencing Federation continues to be the chief of girls’s sports activities within the Kingdom, outperforming different sports activities federations,” he stated.
“We hope that management will proceed to help this, that fencing would be the first selection for all ladies within the Kingdom and that we proceed to win gold medals in all tournaments.”
Al-Masri and her colleagues are little doubt dreaming of the identical objectives.