A delegation from the Sharjah Women’s Sport Foundation (SWSF) led by their Director General, HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, recently visited the Russian Federation – one of the most celebrated nations in the world of sports – to pick up valuable lessons from their world-class sporting entities. Keeping with SWSF’s vision to nurture local women in Sharjah and the UAE in different sports, the trip focused on the aspects of collaboration with Russian institutions as well as benefiting from best practices in women’s sport. Outlining the realities of women in sports in the UAE, the delegation identified areas of improvement by analysing the efforts and strategies of the Russian Ministry of Sports (MoS) and the Russian National Olympic Committee (NOC). They also explored avenues of potential future partnerships with Russia. In a meeting with a representative of the Russian MoS, Boris Grishin, the delegation shared the scope of SWSF’s programmes and activities, listed their efforts and shared areas of expertise. The biannual Arab Women Sport Tournament (AWST) was introduced at the meeting – a unique sporting event in the Arab world. The Russian representatives were also made aware about other tournaments held at regional and international levels, like the AWST and continental championships. The delegation also visited the MoS’s State Museum of Sport.
In another meeting with the Russian Olympic Committee, SWSF showcased its future plans and projects with respect to developing women’s sport in the UAE, particularly in Sharjah. The delegation threw light on key areas of SWSF’s expertise, and shared the organisational models of the various sport courses and tournaments it holds periodically.SWSF was recently part of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s participation at the Leisure Moscow Fair, where the organisation promoted among the exhibition visitors all women’s sport tournaments organised in Sharjah every year. This was shared with the Russian entities. HE Nada Al Naqbi expressed her delight about the visit and commended the huge efforts of the Russian sport organisations on organising meetings and visits that aim to create the ideal environment to boost the development in the field of Women’s sport.“SWSF’s efforts align with the wise directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) and Chairperson of SWSF. Her Highness constant guidance is for us to keep up to date with the best practices in women’s sports globally, and incorporate them into Sharjah’s and the UAE sports landscape to nurture a generation of professional sportswomen in the nation,” said Al Naqbi.
“During this visit, we explored the rich expertise of one of the leading countries in the field of women’s sport. Russia prides itself in women’s achievements in all fields and celebrates them. This is why we were keen to explore the Russian expertise that comes into play while nurturing the talent of female athletes because it will help us expand our horizons in trying to elevate the realities of women’s sport in UAE,” she added.Al Naqbi has extended an official invitation to world fencing champion, Lana Zadonskaya, to visit Sharjah and share her journey in the game of fencing with Emirati athletes.For his part, Boris Grishin, Representative of Russia’s Ministry of Sport and Chairperson of the Department of International Cooperation, expressed his appreciation for SWSF’s visit and commended its efforts, saying: “The visit of the Emirati delegation reinforces the strong relationship between the two countries, especially in sports. We have many agreements and partnerships with UAE’s General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare. The UAE represents the region’s most valuable sporting expertise. This is reflected in the way Emirati sportswomen have competed with their counterparts at Russian tournaments and championships.” “In Russia, we have four female deputies, and one Chancellor of a sport collage, and our vision aligns with the vision of the SWSF in terms of reinforcing the presence of women athletes and nurture women’s sport. We also organise a biannual International Sport Forum, which highlights women’s achievements. This visit will expand potential opportunities for yet more collaboration in favour of women’s sport globally,” he added.
Vladimir Sengleev, Director General of the Russian Olympic Committee, welcomed the SWSF delegation, and commended the foundation for playing an instrumental role in the field of women’s sport not just in the Arab world, but globally. He also spoke about the achievements of 70 Russian women athletes, especially in previous Olympics.“We are delighted with the visit of the Emirati delegation from a leading sports women’s organisation in the Arab world. It is one of the state entities that make considerable efforts to reinforce the local sport realities. We were also delighted to hear them speak about their achievements, especially after exploring SWSF’s leading plans and programmes in the field of empowering women in UAE and enabling them to express themselves, develop their career in sports and fulfil their ambitions and aspirations,” he said.The two organisations discussed enhancing partnerships in future, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focused on facilitating and improving women’s sport in the two countries. The Emirati delegation focused on absorbing all the Russian expertise they could to bring them back to the UAE to be applied to local sports.SWSF was established under an Emiri decree in November 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Dr Muhammas bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah. Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, the foundation strives to empower national athlete women and develop human capital in the field of women sport. It also seeks to create a talented generation of women leaders in the field of sport, encourage women participation in different sports, promote sports culture and provide a stimulating environment that contributes to levitating women sports.