Women in sport champion Sheikha Hayat to push for all sports at future GCC Games to feature female athletes

© Bahrain Olympic Committee
© Bahrain Olympic Committee

Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 22, 2022: Sheikha Hayat Bint Abdulaziz Al-Khalifa will present a proposal to the Gulf Cooperation Council executive board on Monday, May 23, calling for all sports, especially Olympic sports, to be inclusive of female athletes at future GCC Games.

The Chair of the Olympic Council of Asia’s Gender Equity Committee was thrilled that a significant milestone has been achieved at the 3rd edition of the Games in Kuwait with the participation of women athletes for the first time. Now she wants more.

“My hope is that at the next Gulf Games we will have women competing in the same number of sports as the men,” Sheikha Hayat said. “This time there are 16 sports but only six have women competing in them for medals. I want equality in numbers the next time.”

Women are making their debut in the Gulf Games in Kuwait. The six sports featuring female athletes are athletics, basketball (3x3), cycling, esports, futsal and padel.

“What I would love to see is more women competing, especially in sports which are in the Olympic Games. It is very important as that is what the International Olympic Committee desires, as do the International Federations.

“We at the Olympic Council of Asia are also pushing this vigorously. I as Chair of the Gender Equity Committee will recommend to the GCC Games executive board that the next edition of these Games have women competing in all the sports in the programme, especially Olympic sports,” Sheikha Hayat said.

Apart from her role as a champion of women in the OCA, Sheikha Hayat is also a member of the IOC’s Women in Sport Commission, a board member of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and chair of the BOC Women’s Sport Committee and President of the Bahrain Table Tennis Association.

But it was in her role as head of the Women’s Sports Organising Committee of the GCC that she has played a significant role in pushing for the inclusion of women at these Games.

“This has taken several years but now there is momentum among all the National Olympic Committees in the Gulf to have female athletes.

Kuwait 2022 is a positive start but we must do more and I call upon all the NOCs to develop women’s sports in their countries,” Hayat noted.

She also pointed out that table tennis should have had women competing in Kuwait, but unfortunately only a handful of countries were willing to send female athletes – Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

“We have created history. But more needs to be done,” Sheikha Hayat added.