JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Rally Jameel, the Middle East’s first-ever women’s navigational rally, will be held under the patronage of Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi ambassador to the US, it has been announced.
The rally, which begins just weeks away on March 16, looks to empower Saudi women in sport.
The backing of Princess Reema comes under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambitions. The rally is sanctioned by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and has the support of the FIA Women in Motorsport Committee.
Princess Reema has a background in promoting Saudi Arabian sporting initiatives, having previously served as vice president of women’s affairs at the Saudi General Sports Authority, a role in which she developed policies and programs that targeted women and children throughout the Kingdom.
She was later promoted to deputy of development and planning, and was appointed president of the Mass Participation Federation, making her the first woman to lead a multi-sports federation in the Kingdom, a role that she occupied until her appointment as Saudi ambassador to the US.
Princess Reema is also a member of the International Olympic Committee Women in Sports Commission and a member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.
“It is an honor to be involved with this first-of-its-kind rally, which will shine a light on the positive steps being taken across Saudi Arabia to empower women to pursue their passions in their everyday lives,” she said. “It is also fantastic to see this opportunity being made accessible to women, not only across the country, but the region and globally. I am confident that all participants will enjoy a truly unique experience, enjoying our wonderful country’s hospitality and beautiful scenery.”
“Undoubtedly, we believe that all sports will benefit from higher levels of interest from the region’s trailblazing women like Her Royal Highness,” said Hassan Jameel, deputy president and vice chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel.
Up to 30 teams of women drivers and navigators from Saudi Arabia, the GCC and across the globe will be taking part in the rally, which will take place from March 16-19. The rally will begin in the north-central city of Hail, passing through Al-Qassim and then heading to the capital, Riyadh, via hidden checkpoints and challenges.
“We are honored to have the endorsement of Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and her support for the rally,” said Jameel. “The patronage of Her Royal Highness demonstrates the progressive nature of Kingdom and its views on women’s empowerment in line with the transformative Vision 2030 framework.”