Fatima Reyadh has gone against all odds to become the first female coach for the men’s basketball team in Bahrain. Assistant coast Reyadh aims to become Al Najma basketball club’s head coach one day and bring home the national championship.
The young mother is also a taekwondo black belt, and a rare sight to see when she is coaching the team. She began by training a team of young girls, then young boys, before being recruited by Al Najma.
Reyadh inherited a passion for the game from her mother, who coached a women’s basketball squad. Bahrain is one of the countries that is promoting its women into going into the sports industry.
She is currently a Level 2 holder in the world association of basketball coaches and a National coach in level 3 in Canadian basketball. She also enjoys tennis, running, and cycling in her free time.
Official figures show that women, who make up 32% of Bahrain’s economically active population, held 54% of civil service posts between 2010-2019. Reportedly, of 24 of the government’s ministers, 4 are women, although none hold key portfolios.
“When I began my career, there wasn’t the same level of acceptance as there is today,” she told AFP. “The presence of women in sports was seen as bizarre, especially in basketball, which was considered the preserve of men. There were concerns at first, but through hard work and dedication I’ve shown that doubts about my ability to lead the squad were unfounded.”
Today, she has full confidence in herself and is setting an example for the women in the country. Choosing her was “a bold and at the same time quite frightening choice”, says the club’s technical director, Raouf Habil. “Communication was a bit difficult at first with the players, but in time it got a lot easier,” he told AFP.
The talented Fatima Reyadh is an example of successful Bahraini women, -Technical Director, Raouf Habil
The director added that he hopes she inspires and encourages more women to become examples and join their male counterparts. He concluded by saying “I’m all for women in sports”.
Do you know any women like Fatima Reyadh who are breaking stereotypes? Tell us about them in the comments below.
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