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Developing women's sport in Bahrain and GCC


20 Nov 2013
Kuwait: Bahrain Olympic Committee member and BOC Women's Sport Committee Chairwoman Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa gives her views on the issues that matter at the IOC Women and Sport Forum for Africa and Asia in Kuwait on Wednesday.

ABOUT THE FORUM

This IOC Women and Sport Forum for Africa and Asia is a really successful and fruitful event. I’d like to thank ANOC and OCA President H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah for his initiative and support.
We have discussed many topics and achieved common ground from yesterday and today. We also have identified many challenges for developing women's sport through this forum and we must work together to tackle those issues. I’m proud to see such a high standard of participants here. It indicates women’s commitment to work for the benefit of women in sport.

KEY OUTCOMES FROM THE FORUM

We all agree that every NOC should have its own clear strategy on women and sport, and make sure that each national federation must set up a women and sport committee. Women's sport must reach grass roots level, and not stop only at national level.
We must allocate budget for women and sport development. The budget can’t be only spent on men’s sport. We should be sure that there are individual budgets for female coaches, referees, athletes and managers.

Also, from my experience, women must work together with men. And any women and sport committee must be comprised of men and women.

WOMEN'S SPORT IN BAHRAIN

Bahrain is the pioneer of women's sport in GCC countries. Bahrain's women’s teams have participated in Arabic sports events for a long time, when there were no other women's teams participating. That is why I was commissioned by the board to activate women’s sport in this region. I was eager to promote sport among women and I first started from table tennis. With many people’s help I was able to organise the first women's table tennis championship in 2003, and you can see nowadays that more and more women from this region have started to participate in sport, not only at the national level but also in Asian championships and international level.
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