Two Saudi Female Athletes Win 12 Medals in Weightlifting Tournament
By Muhammed Aladdin
In an unprecedented epic win, two Saudi women made history last Thursday when they took home 12 medals in a weightlifting tournament in Oman. Al-Anoud Al-Khalifi and Afnan Sabbagh became the first-ever women to participate in the West Asia and GCC Weightlifting Championship.
In addition, the two women won a total of 12 medals at the competition; Al-Khalifi took home six gold medals in the adult 64 kg category while Sabbagh won six bronze medals in the adult 55 kg section.
The Saudi Arabia Weightlifting Federation celebrated the win in a tweet. “In the first time ever for Saudi women to participate in a weightlifting tournament, Al-Anoud Al-Khalifi won six gold medals in the adult 64 kg category in West Asia and GCC Weightlifting Championship, currently held in Muscat, Oman. Congratulations to our homeland for this accomplishment,” the tweet read.
في أول مشاركة نسائية للمرأة السعودية في تاريخ الأثقال السعودية
الرباعة العنود الخليفي تخطف الأنظار وتتوج ب6 ميداليات ذهبية بالخطف والنتر والمجموع بمنافسات الكبار لوزن 64كجم ببطولتي الخليج وغرب آسيا والمقامة حالياً بالعاصمة العمانية مسقط
ألف مبروك للوطن هذا الانجاز ????️♂️ pic.twitter.com/5YN1fqM5mX
— اتحاد رفع الأثقال (@Weightliftingsa) March 28, 2019
For years, women have been banned from weightlifting, as it was deemed only fit for men. Furthermore, many superstitious ideas surrounding the sport including one that stated that the sport makes girls more aggressive.
Nevertheless, the sport has been gaining popularity with women in the kingdom, and for the first time ever, these two young champions participated and won, making their country proud.
The victory comes at a time when the women of Saudi Arabia are proving themselves to be equal to men, garnering one achievement after another. As a result, many Saudis took to twitter congratulating the two young champions on their victory, hailing it as a turning point in the kingdom’s history.
The five-day tournament saw the participation of more than one hundred athletes from twelve countries from the West Asia and GCC regions.
In March, Saudi women inspired little girls all over the world when they participated in the Abu Dhabi Special Olympics World Summer Games for the first time and won gold in basketball. The female team scored the gold medal in the championship final beating Ivory Coast.
Days before the win, another Saudi female champion, Zahra Al-Qurashi, made the unthinkable when she won Saudi’s first-ever gold medal in kickboxing at the Open International Tournament for Clubs in Amman, Jordan.