Female Saudi black belt shares her story

Nehad Sulaimani is a sports lover and karate black belt who once captained a basketball team. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Female Saudi black belt shares her story

  • She has made time to establish her own magazine for mothers and children to nurture their health and fitness

JEDDAH: Tall, slender and graceful, Nehad Sulaimani is not your typical black belt in karate.
“During my childhood, I lived abroad with my parents. They noticed how active I was in school and encouraged me to try different sports. From then on, the seed was planted and now, I am in love with sport,” she smiles, recalling those early days at the age of 8.
Most Saudi women witnessed previous generations, who did not practice structured sport yet remain relatively fit. The reason, of course, is that many of their grandmothers had a more active lifestyle than we do today.
In a more passive, digital world, sport is increasingly important to replace that active existence. As part of Vision 2030, physical education was formally incorporated into girls’ public schools in Saudi Arabia in 2017. 
The Kingdom’s drive to encourage more women into sports continued with the appointment of Princess Reema bint Bandar as the first woman to head the Saudi Federation for Community Sports.
Since 2014, Sulaimani has trained with coach Rawan Zahran, professional trainer and founder of Sweat Army gym. She also trains with US fitness icon Alexia Clarke. 
While Sulaimani has a black belt in karate, she also became the captain of the  Saudi women’s basketball team — the first women’s team to play at Al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah.
“I tell young girls if they want to have a good life and good body, doing exercise is important for physical and mental health. Eating healthy food goes hand in hand with that,” Sulaimani stressed.
She added that finding an appropriate area to exercise in was important to increase its effectiveness, as well as one’s own enjoyment: “Walking and jogging on the Corniche in Jeddah is lovely, especially during cooler times of the day.” 
With the abundance of gyms and sport facilities in Saudi Arabia for women, there is no excuse for not exercising or engaging in physical activity. 
Saudi women have participated in the Olympics and have founded teams in different sports.
The Kingdom even has a woman racing driver, Reema Juffali, who made history representing her country in the 2019 F4 British Championship.
As for social media, it has proven to be a powerful tool for exchanging ideas and an excellent way to reach out to the public. Sulaimani uses it to help others with exercise by posting demonstration videos.
“Social media allows me to show others my class. I give them workout ideas and explore various exercise moves,” Sulaimani continued. 
She has also made time to establish her own magazine for mothers and children to nurture their health and fitness.


CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

Updated 22 May 2019
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CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

  • Investigating magistrates are considering charging Yousef Al-Obaidly with active corruption
  • There were allegation of corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha

PARIS: The boss of Qatari television channel BeIn, Yousef Al-Obaidly, and ex-athletics chief Lamine Diack, have been under investigation since March over alleged corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, sources told AFP on Tuesday.
Investigating magistrates are considering charging Al-Obaidly with active corruption, while Diack will act as a key witness in the matter and will be charged with passive corruption.
The championships take place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.
Earlier this week AFP learned that Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack may go on trial in a separate matter, for allegedly obstructing sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments.
Prosecutors have recommended Diack, who was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations from 1999 to 2015, be tried for corruption and money laundering.