Saudi Arabia: Lina Al-Maeena – A Woman With a Mission

Some people sit and think about what they’d like to see happen.  Some people sit and watch things happen.  And then there are people like Lina Al-Maeena who make things happen.

Lina is a dynamic woman from Jeddah who realizes the importance of having physical education and sports as a standard part of any educational curriculum.  For Western woman physical education (phys ed) or gym class was a routine part of school life.  Gym class naturally segued to the opportunity to become part of a school’s basketball, volleyball, soccer or baseball team.   Yet the majority of Saudi women were never exposed to phys ed during their schooling.  The absence of phys ed classes for girls continues today in many of Saudi’s schools.

Lina brought women’s participation in sports to the forefront when she established and captained a women’s basketball team back in 2003.  In addition to her own keen interest in sports, Lina is a psychology major and understands the importance of physical activity to combat depression, improve well-being and physical wellness.

Many Saudi teenage girls get in a routine of shopping at the mall or going out to eat with friends as their primary form of activity.  In an interview with Arab News, Lina noted, ““We have seen and do see girls as young as 13 smoking shisha in coffee shops,” Almaeena said. “Why?  Because they have nothing else to do. They are forced to waste hours upon hours in shopping malls…”

Lina is Executive Director of Jeddah United Sports Company which was established in 2006 to promote sports among Saudi’s women and youth. Jeddah United’s vision is to generate Olympic level players who will compete in national and international events.  Concurrently, Lina teaches and demonstrates daily the importance to combine physical education with health and well-being.  She reaches out to Saudis explaining how through sports and physical exercise diseases such as diabetes, which is prevalent among Saudis, can be better controlled.

Lina is one of Saudi Arabia’s trailblazer women.  I predict that through Lina’s determination and advocacy of sports for women, female athletes will soon be part of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic teams.

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5 Responses

  1. Yay. It just goes to show – what we *do* does make a difference.

  2. I love LIna- and she does fantastic work!

  3. physical activity is a win win for everyone. I hope more girls and kids take to it in saudi and the rest of the world .

  4. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/more-sports/rights-group-demands-saudi-arabia-allow-women-at-olympics/article2340084/

    And here some Canadians, comment on breaking the discrimination barriers within Saudi Arabia to compete in sports and abroad.

  5. It’s coming for sure!!

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