FATIMA BINT MUBARAK LADIES SPORTS ACADEMY HAILS A HISTORIC WEEK FOR WOMEN’S SPORT IN THE UAE
The second Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open – FBMLO tees off a ground-breaking week for women’s sport in Abu Dhabi which concludes with two inspirational sell-out days at the fourth International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW)
Women’s sports in the UAE has never been in a healthier position, according to the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy (FBMA), the organization behind an unprecedented week of thrilling and inspiring events dedicated to furthering opportunities for women in sports across the country.
The historic week teed off on Wednesday 1st November with four days of Ladies European Tour golf at the second annual Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open (FBMLO) at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, and concluded seven days later with the conclusion of the fourth International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC).
As an international showcase for women’s sport in the UAE, the week will go down as an historic milestone. The statistics across both events tell an important story - 126 pro golfers from 27 different countries, six days of live international television coverage broadcast to over 80 countries, 41 international speakers including three UAE Ministers of State, over 2000 conference delegates from 75 different countries, and 900 student visitors. This was a week that saw the sporting world focus its attention on Abu Dhabi and its forward-thinking vision for promoting and improving the sporting landscape for women, here and around the world.
“This has been the most momentous week in the relatively short history of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy,” explained Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and Chairwoman of the Abu Dhabi and the Al Ain Ladies Clubs.
“To have hosted two such important events that have inspired and engaged so many women across the UAE and from all around the world, is a testament to the important role of FBMA and its mission. We stand strong and confident that the landscape for women in sports will only keep improving, that opportunities will keep arising and that victories will be aplenty. Inspiring Generations will not be exclusive to the ICSW 2017, but the FBMA will carry the message and embed it in all of our endeavors as we bring women together in a way that no other cause can, in order to not only inspire future generations but also to inspire each other.”
Hosted at the iconic Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and held for the second year under the patronage of the Mother of the Nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open took place from Wednesday 1st November through to Saturday 4th November, and saw 126 players take part, with India’s Aditi Ashok ultimately emerging victorious with an untouchable 18 under par. The nineteen-year-old, who received her first FBMLO trophy from UAE Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, H.E. Ohoud Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, secured her third Ladies European Tour career title and a €70,787.85 first prize purse.
This year’s tournament saw FBMA partner with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) to oversee the tournament and ensure that it had a community focus at its core. The importance of having a family-focused offering at this year’s tournament further highlighted FBMA’s strategic vision towards youth, including free tickets every day for all spectators. With plenty of on-site family-friendly activities to choose from there was something on offer for everyone. Visitors enjoyed this staple family event through a range of entertaining activities, such as the hugely popular FBMA crazy golf or the introductory cricket and golf sessions from Abu Dhabi Cricket and HSBC Future Falcons respectively. There were also family-friendly work-outs from Troon Fit, as well as a range of food trucks, with plenty of healthy options and also the odd well-deserved treat too!
Just two days later, a capacity attendance of over 2000 international delegates and VIPs gathered for the fourth, and largest ever, International Conference of Sports for Women (ICSW) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC). An FBMA initiative, ICSW aims to advance the global conversation on women’s sports by providing thought-leadership from some of the most experienced industry figures and sporting icons globally. This year’s conference featured an opening welcome speech, three headline speakers, six facilitated panels, eight interactive workshops, and an academic session.
Three Ministers of State, three Olympic medalists, the winner of 10 Special Olympics medals, the founder of the Beirut Marathon, an 86 year-old record-breaking Ironman competitor, and countless sports industry pioneers arrived into the UAE especially for the conference, which drew visitors from all around the world under the unifying theme of ‘Inspiring Generations’.
ICSW 2017 featured a schedule packed with diverse opinion, widespread expertise and experience, and an unparalleled line-up of sporting icons and industry leaders. Day one was kicked-off by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Cabinet Member and Minister of State for Tolerance, who welcomed the assembled delegates from around the world to the UAE capital, and explained the crucial role that sports is playing across the nation in addressing key societal challenges.
His Excellency was one of three UAE Ministers of State to address the assembled delegates over the two days, alongside the UAE Minister of State for Youth, H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, who gave the opening Conference speech on Day One, and H.E. Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who also appeared on Day One. H.E. Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, Cabinet Member and Minister of Community Development, was also in attendance on the first day, highlighting the pivotal role that sports plays as a unifier in developing the community.
The impressive Conference line-up also included athletes and leaders from as far afield as the United States, India, United Kingdom, Spain, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and of course the UAE. A truly international event, ICSW showcased some of the most inspirational stories from women’s sports around the world. Among the panelists to grace the ICSW stages were Zahra Lari, a three-time UAE national figure skating champion; Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and first Saudi to successfully climb Mount Everest; Samar Nassar, CEO of the Local Organizing Committee of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World cup 2016; the ‘Iron Nun’ - 86 year-old Ironman triathlete Sister Madonna Buder; 14-time muay thai and kickboxing world champion, Julie Kitchen; Special Olympics icon and 10-time medalist, Loretta Claiborne; Maria Teixidor Jufresa, Board of Directors Vice-Secretary, FC Barcelona; Michelle Kwan, two-time Olympic figure skating medalist; His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; Kate Bosomworth, Board Member of Sport England; May El-Khalil, Founder of the Beirut Marathon Association; Tala Al-Ramahi, Chief Strategy Officer at the Special Olympics World Games – Abu Dhabi 2019; Kate Johnson, Vice President and Head of Global Sponsorship Marketing at Visa; Gavin Makel, Head of Women's Football at Manchester City Football Club; Alan Pascoe MBE, the former President of international sports and entertainment agency CSM; and Hala Al Gergawi, the Executive Managing Editor of Zahrat Al Khaleej.
For more information on FBMA and its various initiatives please visit www.fbma.ae.