JEDDAH: Jeddah United basketball club has held a "friendly game" event to support the Zahra breast cancer association. Studies show that more active women are less likely to suffer from breast cancer so the event was very relevant for the international month of breast cancer awareness.
More than 50 women from five Saudi females basketball teams enjoyed the friendly challenge, including two teams who flew in from Riyadh — Riyadh United and Al-Azem — to support today’s event and help spread awareness by highlighting the importance of sports and physical activities.
The event took place at the Jeddah United club in Shatea district from 5p.m. to 10p.m. and aims to support breast cancer awareness among Jeddah women under the slogan “We are here to live and be loved.”
The teams were:
2. Riyadh United
3. Jeddah United
4. Swish Academy
5 Jeddah Athlete
The event organizers were former players from Jeddah United Academy who are now assistant coaches.
Every year Jeddah United makes sure it holds at least one event to support breast cancer awareness.
Lina Almaeena, co-founder of Jeddah United Sports Co. (JUSC), told Arab News: “The tournament aims to support breast cancer awareness. This was planned from last year by Alia Abu Alola, the director of Jeddah United Academy.”
“Such events help us in reaching our goal of raising female sports activities from 30 to 40 percent; it really symbolizes Vision 2030 and how we are trying to be active and reach our targets.”
“Special thanks to Princess Haifa Al-Faisal who is the chairwoman of the Zahra society and Princess Reema bint Bandar, because she has done so much to promote and change the mindset in the country toward women's sports,” Almaeena said.
The event was also in memory of Super Dima BalhJelah, who died this summer from breast cancer and was Leena Almaeen’s soulmate. Deema’s family are doing an Al-Hijrah walk from Makkah to Madinah as they coordinated the initiative together.
Alia Abu Alola said: “I was always wishing for basketball teams in Saudi Arabia to be able to play friendly games with a cause so we all can be winners, and it is really good to have awareness about breast cancer and to combine it with sports.”
The event was attended by Reham Afandi Saudi, a Saudi zumba coach and breast cancer survivor, who said that she was there to share the positive spirit and give a zumba class for all the women at the event. She said it was all about being active and united in sports. It also shed light on citizens who were responsible for spreading awareness about looking after health as so many of the Saudi population are under the age of 30.
An audience member, Bashayer Abdul Aziz, one of the player's sisters, said: “I am really glad to have such events which really have such a meaningful propose to spread among the community.”
Jeddah United and Riyadh United, sister academies for female basketball, were established in 2005. The leader of Riyadh United team, Fahdah Al-Saud, told Arab News: “Breast cancer awareness is crucial and spreading awareness about a healthy lifestyle is also important as physical movement helps to make the body immune from many diseases. Today I believe is a very important step for us to help in spreading awareness and also to support Saudi women in sport.”
Darin Sabban, the captain of Swish Academy, said: “Whether you are a breast cancer fighter or a normal person, it is really important to know that sports adds a lot to our lives as females. Supporting breast cancer awareness and being part of the campaign shows the community how both topics are related and helps ladies to exercise more and to get check-ups.” The media sponsor of this event is Arab News.