Amal Mohammad Saleh is currently the captain of the Qatar national basketball team and also has the first FIBA (International Basketball Federation) female Qatari licence in 3x3 basketball. She has 16 years of experience in the sport and is also working with the Qatar Basketball Federation as a referee in the youth and men's league. In 2019, she was honoured to represent Qatar as a referee in the ANOC beach game 2019 and in the 2020 Master Doha 3x3.
Her team has won the GCC gold medal six years between 2008 to 2019, and she is also the recipient of the best referee award. Amal graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management from Qatar University in 2017 and with a Master's degree in Sport Entertainment and Management from Hamad Bin Khalifa University in 2021. She also has a Higher Diploma in Nursing and works with the surgical department at Hamad Hospital.
Amal: I feel a lot of honour, pride and a sense of responsibility all at the same time in representing my country. It’s a great feeling, I love it.
Amal: I started with small kids and gradually reached the men's league where I became the first Qatari woman referee in basketball. I had the support of the Qatar Olympic Committee, the Qatar Women's Sports Committee and the Qatar Basketball Federation who nominated me to take the FIBA license.
It gave me the chance to represent my country and learn more every day. The more people I meet, the more I get to improve myself as a referee. I’m very happy to be building new relationships with others.
Amal: Starting any new thing is hard at first. Considering my culture and the background of my community it took me years to earn this name. It was very slow, but in the end, it happened and anything is possible.
Amal: Globally the challenges faced by women and girls are countless. Whether it be with education, healthcare, or sport. It took time to change the idea that women can do play sports and earn medals just like men. Also, playing with the Hijab at the Korean Asian Games in 2014, was a big challenge.
Amal: I prefer both as the difference between the two is just in the responsibility. Both bring great memories and experiences for me.
Amal: Participating in Incheon during the Korea Asian Games 2014 made me proud. It was a memorable event and it was great to have had the chance to change the FIBA rule related to the Hijab.
Amal: To give the chance to female athletes to bring home medals in the Olympic Games. Also to send a message to the whole world that we are ready to host the World Cup with our hospitality.
Amal: In basketball, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. In martial arts, Master Nasser Al Aisri from Oman, Doctor of mental sport.
Amal: Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and my mentor Dr. Nasser Al Aisri.
Amal: For being the first FIBA female Qatari referee in Qatar.
Amal: Reading about sports.
Amal: Believing that Allah helps and supports me in any decision I make, and also that He sends the right people to help me achieve my goal.
Amal: To finish my PhD in sport in the UK and raise my kids with the same passion for sports.
Amal: To be a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Amal: Patience and commitment.
Amal: First, Allah, and then the full support of the Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Women's Sports Committee, the Qatar Basketball Federation, my family, and lastly, my mentor Dr. Nasser Al Aisri.
Amal: I don't call them mistakes; it's called trying to change something because without making mistakes, you can’t reach anywhere. You need to go through many trials to achieve your goal, for example, to change the rule of the Hijab, I had to undergo many trials to get it accepted and it took around three years. Furthermore, to become a referee, it took time to convince the community to accept a woman on the court.
Amal: To change my degree and my education from Nursing to Sports.
Amal: That I am also a nurse.
Amal: Faithful. Believer. Committed. Disciplined. Rational.
Amal: Reading, travelling and Kung fu.
Amal: Oman, Turkey and Ethiopia.
Amal: Sushi, rice and pasta.
Amal: Everything can be possible with faith and patience.
Amal: The world of sports is big. It’s not only about doing exercises to achieve medals. It's also about your identity, your country, and the opportunity to have relationships with people in other sports across the globe.
Since sports is extremely important in Qatar, everyone should exercise for their health and mental wellbeing. My message especially for the women in Qatar is that you can join the national team and represent your country with full identity and respect from your community.
Cover image credit: Image provided by Amal Mohammad Saleh
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