Saudi teenage boxer knocks out stereotypes

Salma Fahad joined TKO Fighters when she was 18, and has aspired to become a boxer since childhood. (Supplied)
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Salma Fahad joined TKO Fighters when she was 18, and has aspired to become a boxer since childhood. (Supplied)
Saudi teenage boxer knocks out stereotypes
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Salma Fahad
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Updated 24 July 2022

Saudi teenage boxer knocks out stereotypes

Salma Fahad joined TKO Fighters when she was 18, and has aspired to become a boxer since childhood. (Supplied)
  • Saudi-based American boxing trainer, Lee Starks, formed the TKO Fighters team

RIYADH: This era is the most promising for Saudi women to be the face of boxing.

The sport is becoming more well-known in the Kingdom, and more women are taking a leap of faith in pursuing their fighting passions. Saudi amateur boxer, Salma Fahad, is only 19, and she is ready to show the world the potential of Saudi women in boxing.

The amateur boxer is a part of the TKO Fighters team, and spends most of her day at the TKO Gym in Riyadh’s Al-Wadi, preparing for her face-off with professional fighters at the end of this month.

“The next match is the exhibition we’re having on the 28th and 29th of July,” Fahad said. “I’m really excited about this; we’ve been working hard and it’s gonna be a great event. It’s in Riyadh, in the Radisson Blu Hotel.”

Fahad has been boxing for eight months. She joined TKO fighters when she was 18, and has aspired to become a boxer since childhood.

“I used to watch boxing on TV, especially female boxing, and I felt so inspired,” she said.

After my first fight, even though I got beat up, I took the fight even though I’ve been boxing for a week. It was an eye-opener and brought this excitement inside me.

Salma Fahad

The Saudi fighter has competed in two official competitions — her first competition took place in Riyadh last year, and her second match was in Kuwait last March. She also had exhibition shows throughout the year and regularly sparred.

“Understanding what it’s like to be in amateur fights and actually getting that type of experience made me realize how much I love this sport and how much I wanna commit to it,” she said. “After my first fight, even though I got beat up, I took the fight even though I’ve been boxing for a week. It was an eye-opener and brought this excitement inside me.”

Fahad’s passion motivates her to train six days a week while trying to stay healthy to keep her weight down.

“You always have to wrap your hands to protect them, that’s the most important thing, so you don’t injure yourself,” Fahad said.

“Usually we begin with jump ropes and a warm-up to help with foot movement and use the speed bag to help with hand-eye coordination. We do some drills with each other, heavy bag moves, heavy bag training, working on the jab, the cross, the hooks — we put them together. We also work on head movements with each other.”

Fahad’s favorite boxing move is the jab. “It keeps the other person away and opens up all the other counters and moves,” she said.

Despite stereotypes about the sport’s “masculinity,” Fahad continues to encourage aspiring fighters.

“Being out there and showing you’re never gonna stop will break the stereotype,” she said. “With society, you can’t please everyone, especially being a female and doing boxing. But you know, I realized that the people who wanna be inspired will look at it in a positive way.”

“Go for it; you have nothing to lose — boxing has helped me find myself in many ways, and there’s no harm in starting. If you start and stay consistent, you can reach anywhere you wanna reach,” she said.

Fahad found her team and coach from an Instagram post. She said that she is surrounded by a supportive system from her family, friends, teammates and coach.

“My family are thankfully very supportive and have been with me every step of the way,” she said. “My coach and my team really helped me grow as a person. More than just boxing, inside and outside of boxing, they helped me feel more confident and more comfortable in myself and in the sport. They’re like my second family.”

Saudi-based American boxing trainer, Lee Starks, formed the TKO Fighters team. It is the first women’s boxing team in the Kingdom in 2021. He started with four ambitious young female boxers and led them to the historic debut championship in Riyadh.

“These young ladies and gentlemen came to me, and they were big fans of boxing, and they trained really hard, so after a while, we were like, so you know what? Let’s create a travel team,” Starks said. “There were only two or three tournaments a year, so we created a travel team that would travel outside of Saudi Arabia and participate.”

Boxing continues to grow as a sport for Saudi women, and there is a positive outlook for it in the future. Starks believes that the sport is going to be “really big in the next two or three years for women in Saudi.”


KSrelief launches project to sponsor orphans and support their families in Marib

KSrelief launches project to sponsor orphans and support their families in Marib
Updated 6 sec ago

KSrelief launches project to sponsor orphans and support their families in Marib

KSrelief launches project to sponsor orphans and support their families in Marib

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) inaugurated on Tuesday a project to sponsor orphans in Yemen's Marib governorate and provide economic empowerment to their families, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The project aims to support 177 orphans in their education and living, in addition to financially supporting and empowering 50 orphans' families.

SPA stated that the orphan sponsorship project is implemented by KSrelief in three Yemeni governorates: Aden, Lahj, and Marib, targeting 536 orphans and 166 orphans' families.

Moreover, KSrelief mobile clinics have provided treatment services to the beneficiaries in Hajjah Governorate.

The clinics received 542 people with various health conditions from July 27 to Aug. 2, and provided them with the necessary medical services.
The clinics also provided 271 individuals with medications.


Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law

Saudi man allegedly killed by brother-in-law
  • The embassy expressed its full confidence in the Tunisian judiciary

RIYADH: A Saudi man has allegedly been killed by his Tunisian wife’s brother in Bizerte, Tunisia.

This is according to a statement released by the Kingdom’s embassy in Tunis, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.

“The embassy would like to clarify that it has followed up on the details of the tragic incident since its occurrence with the concerned authorities in Tunisia.”

The embassy stated that the Kingdom was confident the Tunisian courts would deal effectively with the matter.

The body of the citizen has been returned to the Kingdom.

The embassy extended condolences to the family of the deceased.


Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

Saudi crown prince discusses relations, joint cooperation with German chancellor Scholz

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call on Tuesday from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
During the call, they reviewed aspects of bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Germany, opportunities for joint cooperation between the two countries, and ways to develop them.
They also discussed the latest regional and international developments and efforts exerted to achieve peace and stability, in addition to reviewing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection

Saudi fashion brand Hindamme returns with new luxury collection
  • Ready-to-wear Saudi fashion label launches “SEASON V”

RIYADH: Ready-to-wear Saudi luxury label Hindamme launched its new collection, “SEASON V,” that explores relationships to families, communities, and the Earth.

The brand, established by designer Mohammed Khoja, became well known for successfully fusing Eastern and Western cultures through modern, opulent apparel in forward-thinking, creative designs.

“Autobiographical in its spirit, the brand’s latest offering investigates the deeper and more meaningful connections in life,” said Khoja.

“What inspired this collection is bringing together the community and building new connections and reconnecting with nature. It has a very positive theme, and the reason why I wanted to create it was because I felt it was therapeutic for myself, and also the need to focus on our planet,” he added.

Through its aesthetic, “SEASON V” applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood-inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, “SEASON V” reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

“Every time I wear the bomber jacket from (the) ‘SEASON V’ collection, people stop me and ask me where did I get it from, which is rewarding for me. The jacket has an attractive lavender color with the calligraphy of the Arabic word for ‘Earth’ on the back,” Khoja said.

HIGHLIGHT

Through its aesthetic, ‘SEASON V’ applies the science of color theory, with pieces that feature mood- inducing gradients as well as futuristic and nature-inspired motifs in fabrics like velvet, nylon, and satin. A joyful ode to new beginnings, ‘SEASON V’ reflects themes of resilience, aspiration, and gratitude.

Indeed, much of the collection reflects the designer’s love of calligraphy, with the Arabic ‘Earth’ motif applied in embossed, padded embroideries throughout several items.

“SEASON V” also introduces a specially commissioned collaboration with Kyoto-based Japanese artist Ikegami Yorikyuki, that features prints of a mural entitled “A Certain Planet” in several pieces throughout the collection.

The most recent editorial lookbook of “SEASON V” also brought together a number of Middle Eastern multi-disciplinary artists to produce a collection of prints that reflect an NFT-inspired universe that honors nature and denotes both our current connection to, and disconnection from it.

“I collaborated with a number of Arab creatives. I really look up to producing a series of artistic photography as an editorial for the new collection. It was beautiful, in a sense, as it produced a diverse fusion of art, photography and fashion within these visuals,” said Khoja.

About naming the collection “SEASON V” Khoja told Arab News: “From the beginning of establishing my brand, I decided to do drops, as what they refer to in the fashion world, rather than follow a season, and I felt like the easiest way to document each season was by giving it a number, and in this case, it was in Roman format, but I also do smaller collections between each season.”

In each of its collections, Hindamme, which in the old Arabic dialect means “to possess perfect harmony,” frequently combines different genres.

Khoja spoke about the importance of connecting young Saudi designers to investors for support, putting Saudi fashion brands in malls and showrooms.

Through Hindamme, Khoja has been a trailblazer in influencing and advancing Saudi Arabia’s fashion and cultural landscape with his “East meets West” philosophy.

He launched Hindamme in 2016, incorporating patterns like “Al-Qatt Al-Aseeri” from his native land and highlighting frequently ignored elements of heritage to a new audience in a contemporary and forward-thinking format.

He was inspired by reflecting elements of his everyday life and larger cultural and social themes through his designs.

Many of his pieces have also won recognition on a global scale and are now part of permanent collections at a number of museums.


Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees
Updated 16 August 2022

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

Saudi embassy in UK honors outgoing employees

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in the UK held a ceremony on Tuesday to honor a number of employees who have ended their work term at the mission in the capital, London.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Britain, Prince Khalid bin Bandar, expressed his thanks and appreciation to the employees for their effort and dedication in serving their religion, king and country, wishing them more success in their endeavors inside and outside the Kingdom, in the interest of the nation in various fields.