Shaima Al-Husseini: Saudi Arabia on path to becoming global sports powerhouse

Advancing Sports Participation and Inclusivity: A Conversation with Shaima Al-Husseini, Managing Director of the Saudi Sports for All Federation

Shaima Al-Husseini, managing director at the Saudi Sports for All Federation, has seen a surge in sports participation in Saudi Arabia. The country aims to create a more active society through its Vision 2023 and Quality of Life program.

The 2024 Riyadh Marathon had a record 20,000 participants, with 60 percent being Saudi nationals. This reflects a shift towards valuing physical activity and inclusivity. The marathon’s development is noteworthy, with a 100 percent rise in participants in just two years.

The marathon’s global appeal is evident, with runners from 125 countries participating. The event’s elite label status attracts top international runners, showcasing Saudi Arabia on the world stage.

Shorter runs like the 10 km and 4 km family run have increased local participation. These events cater to diverse participants and promote active living within households.

Various sectors in Saudi Arabia are witnessing increased sports engagement. Female participation rates have surged, with initiatives like the Women’s Football League leading the way.

The future holds ambitious plans for the SFA, including enhancing infrastructure, developing talent, and promoting health and wellness. Events like the Global Goals World Cup and #MoveYourWorld campaign will continue to drive sports participation in the Kingdom.

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