Karate is to make its debut appearance as a contest at the fourth Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST 2018), which takes place across 10 venues in Sharjah from February 2-12. The martial art is the ninth sporting discipline to feature in the AWST 2018 programme, which will see 68 clubs from 16 Arab countries competing in what is the largest pan-Arab women’s sporting event.Themed ‘'The World is Your Court, Together Victorious,’ the 11-day AWST 2018 is being held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and Chairperson of Sharjah Women's Sports Foundation (SWSF).The UAE will be represented in the karate discipline by Sharjah Sports Club for Women and Al Nasr, which will compete alongside eight other Arab clubs; Bahrain’s Karate Academy Club, Palestine’s Bait Al Magdis Karate Club, Jordan’s Nepocan Women’s Sports Club, the National Bank of Egypt club, the Libyan Women’s Sports Association, Iraq’s Peshmerga Sports Club, Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Training Centre and the Algerian National Security Sports Association. With this level of participation, Karate will be the most widely represented sporting discipline in AWST 2018, despite it making its inaugural appearance.“We are extremely pleased with the resounding response to AWST 2018, especially with regards to karate, which despite making only its first appearance at this year’s edition will be the most represented sport in the tournament.
This demonstrates the increasing popularity of karate as a form of martial arts in the MENA region,” said Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of AWST’s Supreme Organising Committee (SOC) and Head of its Executive Committee and Director General of SWSF.“SOC decided to include karate in this year’s edition of AWST in order to allow women who practice the contact sport the opportunity to compete in a women-friendly sporting environment and to test their combat skills and tactics against fellow karate exponents from other Arab countries. This will help ready them for participation in various international karate championships in the future,” she added.“Karate is a sport known for its values of respect, humility and courage, with years of intensive physical training and focused mental growth required to achieve proficiency in the discipline. The inclusion of karate within AWST’s disciplines has garnered support from the UAE Karate Federation, which is chaired by Major General Nasser Abdul Razzq Al Razooqi,” Al Naqbi continued.Al Naqbi commented that the significant increase in the number of participating athletes in AWST 2018 reflected the immense efforts of AWST’s SOC under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. “The Supreme Organising Committee toured many Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Jordan, with the aim of ensuring the participation of the highest number of female Arab athletes in the region's largest women’s sporting event,” she added.Shamis: Karate Federation provided all means of support to ensure the success of Karate’s first appearance at the tournament .
“The federation has provided all means of support to ensure the success of karate’s first appearance at AWST. The inclusion of karate in the tournament is the fruition of cooperation between the federation and Sharjah Sports Club for Women on one hand and the Arab Olympic Committees on the other, with a view to providing an environment suitable for the significant number of Arab female players who are taking part in the competition," said Humaid Shamis, Assistant General Secretary of the UAE Karate Federation.“The federation will spare no effort to ensure the success of this pan-Arab sporting extravaganza with the aim of developing the performance of Arab players. It will lend its arbitrative, technical and management expertise to ensure the effective organisation for the debut appearance of karate at AWST 2018,” he added.Shamis indicated that the large number of participating clubs at AWST 2018 reflects the eagerness of Arab federations and Olympic committees to elevate the status women's sports in general and karate in particular, due to the importance of this tournament as a vehicle for Arab female players to develop their skills and realise their dreams of competing in major international tournaments, including the Olympic games. The first edition of AWST was held in 2012 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. The pan-Arab tournament is held once every two years with the aim of raising the profile of and enhancing women’s sports in the Arab region.