Riyadh: An increasing number of women in Saudi are lifting weights with the aim to compete.
Coach Nada Ismail says she is surprised by the growing interest in weightlifting and bodybuilding among Saudi Arabian women, in a video posted by Reuters.
In Saudi, where women bodybuilders and weightlifters were once taboo, a ban on women accessing gyms was lifted 2017, part of a bigger initiative to increase women’s appearance in public life and participation in the workforce.
“Bodybuilding was an unwanted sport (for women) in Riyadh or Gulf countries,” Saudi Arabian bodybuilding trainee, Balqees Saleh said.
Fellow bodybuilder, Fatima Abdallah, dreams of being a role model for Saudi Arabian women in sports after training hard for two years in bodybuilding and weightlifting.
“Now there is also awareness and acceptance to weightlifting,” said 30-year-old Abdallah, who works in a telecommunications company.