JEDDAH: A Saudi team of deaf female chess players is hoping to make all the right moves competing in its first major continental tournament.
Rasha Mahfouz Abu Zaid, Fatimah Mohammed Al-Amoudi, Zahrah Abdulrahman Al-Somali, and Wafa Ali Baghanim, are taking part in the first Asia Pacific Deaf Rapid and Blitz Championships for Open and Women 2023.
The competition, being staged in the Jordanian capital Amman until Feb. 28, has been organized by the Jordanian Deaf Sports Federation and the Asia Pacific Deaf Sports Confederation.
Registered under the Saudi Deaf Sports Federation, the four players from the Women’s Association for Hearing Impairment (Emkan) in Jeddah, will be among more than 100 competitors from 20 countries participating in the event.
Head of the Saudi delegation and member of the SDSF’s board of directors, Faiza Abbas Natto, told Arab News: “We are hopeful our players will win and show good results for the Saudi team, despite the fact that it is the first participation of its kind for Saudi Arabia in such a big continental championship.”
She said the Saudi federation had struggled to find the money to fund the team’s involvement in the tournament.
“Despite that, the SDSF has spared no efforts in coordinating with the Jordanian side to facilitate the participation of the team. The federation also approved the team in its future domestic and external participations,” she added.
Natto noted that the Emkan team members had received months of intensive training under the supervision of chess coach Eman Fallatah.
She said: “The players succeeded in winning the local federation’s trust to represent their country in the events, amid great aspirations and hopes that they will achieve good results that reflect the high levels Saudi sportspeople have reached.
“It is hoped they can reflect the impressive results achieved by male and female champions with special needs in many international sporting events.”
She pointed out that the Emkan team, the first Saudi chess squad for people with hearing impairment, was established in September last year with the support of board chair, Princess Nouf bint Muqrin bin Abdulaziz.
“The team consists of five female players who have been trained and rehabilitated at the headquarters of the Emkan by specialized chess coaches so that they can competently participate in local and international tournaments,” Natto added.