Tahani Alqahtani and Yasmeen Al-Dabbagh are two Saudi Olympic athletes paving a path for Saudi women's participating in the Olympics. Their participation at the Tokyo Olympics Games comes in light of important developments in the process of women participation in various fields, including sports.
The Olympic Games are now underway in Tokyo, Japan, after being delayed by a year due to the ongoing pandemic.
The 21-year-old Alqahtani is an international-level judoka. She started judo a few years ago at the Saudi Judo Training Centre, based in Riyadh. This is her first time representing Saudi Arabia as an Olympic athlete at the Games. Alqahtani said she hopes, under the country’s Vision 2030, to inspire other women to follow their passions, whether that be in sport or in other fields.
She added, “Through that and my successes I want to show the world the true image of Saudi women. It is an ambitious goal but it is important to keep pace with the modern era in all directions.”
On the other hand, Al-Dabbagh qualified for the100-metre dash at the Games. At the national level, she is the fastest female on the 100 metres race with a time of 13.24. For her, it’s a “dream come true” to be able to represent her country.
“I’m running for myself, my country and for all young Saudis,” she said to the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC.
Today in Saudi Arabia all sports are practised actively by women. While the first participation in Olympics by a Saudi female athlete was in the London Olympics, the Kingdom has witnessed more and more women competing on an international level to reach the Olympics.