Hayya Qatar World Cup card holders welcome to go to Saudi Arabia

For Rasha Al-Khamis, one phrase sums up final weekend’s “Rage on the Pink Sea” boxing bout in Jeddah: Legendary.

This isn’t merely hyperbole for the vp of the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation.

“It tells you that the long run hub for boxing is in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Khamis mentioned. “The impression of ‘Rage on the Pink Sea’ is very large and tangible, as it should encourage many generations to choose up boxing as some of the most well-liked sports activities to observe.”

Whereas the principle occasion, which noticed Oleksandr Usyk retain his heavyweight title belt towards Anthony Joshua, drew many of the world’s consideration on the night time, one other bout was arguably as necessary for Al-Khamis.

“It was certainly pleasant to look at the first-ever ladies’s professional boxing battle going down in Saudi Arabia,” she mentioned of British Somali fighter Ramla Ali’s win over Crystal Garcia Nova of the Dominican Republic.

“I’m certain that this legendary battle will create a tangible impression on the boxing ecosystem.” 

Sport has lengthy been life’s calling for Al-Khamis.

Born and raised in Riyadh, she was lucky to develop up in a household that valued sports activities and wholesome existence.

“I used to be by no means handled otherwise from my brother,” mentioned Al-Khamis.

Childhood actions included enjoying soccer together with her cousins on the household farm and taking pictures hoops in her yard.

After graduating from King Saud College, Al-Khamis moved to the US to proceed her graduate research, and broaden her instructional and cultural horizons. It was whereas she was on the College of Southern California that she took up boxing to get energetic and meet new folks.

From the second she laced her first pair of gloves, Al-Khamis fell in love with the game.

She competed domestically in California many instances, every time diving deeper into the world of boxing.

In 2017, she returned house, a transfer that might have a serious impression on her and plenty of different aspiring athletes throughout the Kingdom.

After attending an intensive coaching course by the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation, in 2018, she grew to become the primary Saudi licensed feminine boxing coach and began educating the game at King Saud College. A whole bunch of younger ladies lined as much as be taught from her.

“Each felt the advantages of boxing of their each day lives. It was making an enormous distinction and I can nonetheless bear in mind every pupil’s story about how boxing modified their life for the higher,” mentioned Al-Khamis.

In 2021, she was appointed because the vp of the Saudi Arabian Boxing Federation, working intently with President Abdullah Al-Harbi to implement a long-term technique for the game within the Kingdom, specializing in rising it to ship a robust workforce to the Olympics.

In February 2022, Al-Khamis grew to become the primary Saudi to be appointed as a board member of the Asian Boxing Committee (ASBC). 

“I’m very grateful and benefiting massively from being surrounded by years of expertise and data at ASBC. It’s such a terrific alternative to develop and be taught from those that have been on this trade for years,” she mentioned. “I’m utilizing this opportunity to assist additional our initiatives at house and guarantee we carry that high-quality data to the native panorama.”

Creating the nascent boxing scene in Saudi Arabia comes with many challenges, however unearthing and cultivating world-class athletes is what drives her each day. Above all, she hopes offering equal alternatives might be her enduring legacy.

With Al-Khamis on the helm, progress is occurring at a fast fee.

“Solely in feminine packages we’ve seen a 100% enhance from final 12 months,” she mentioned.

“We’re implementing boxing health programs in eight faculties this 12 months and need to accumulate extra. Proper now, our focus is on the schooling of the game throughout the faculties, slowly introducing it to them in order that they will perceive that it teaches self-discipline and respect for others, and instills self-confidence.

“The extra faculties we are able to combine, the extra alternatives we create for natural development of the game within the nation. This helps us construct good competitors and offers us an opportunity to ship sturdy contributors to the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.”

Earlier this 12 months, a workforce of Saudi feminine boxers traveled to Northern Eire for a coaching camp, the place for the primary time they had been in a position to prepare and spar with novice fighters from all all over the world.

“What a possibility it was for these younger ladies to see and stay the lifetime of an athlete,” Al-Khamis mentioned. “These are the alternatives we need to facilitate increasingly for our nationwide boxing workforce, and are a few of the fundamental issues the federation desires to offer to develop boxing in Saudi Arabia.”

Elevating boxing’s profile within the Kingdom stays the precedence, and he or she is grateful for the assist she has obtained from the nation’s leaders.

“I need to thank my nation, and lengthen my honest appreciation to His Majesty King Salman and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” mentioned Al-Khamis.

“With Imaginative and prescient 2030 and the path of the Ministry of Sports activities and Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee beneath the management of HRH Prince Abdulaziz Al-Faisal and vp of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, Prince Fahad bin Jalawi, I’m so grateful.”

She grew to become the primary lady to affix the Arab Boxing Union as president of the Arab Girls’s Boxing Committee in August 2022. Following this ground-breaking transfer, Al-Khamis hopes to construct up ladies’s boxing within the area.

“Proper now, as it’s a fully new committee, I’m centered on selecting the correct board members. My best candidates are those that are actively championing feminine boxing of their international locations,” she mentioned. “Though a majority might be ladies, I’m not taking a look at solely females as candidates. They need to be effectively educated and have a background in fight,” Al-Khamis added.

“I hope that athletes in Saudi Arabia have the fitting alternatives and amenities to compete in boxing on the highest stage all over the world,” she mentioned. “I’ll work every single day, alongside my nation’s leaders, to carry that imaginative and prescient to life.”


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