Saudi Arabia announce female-only gyms will be launched, but competitive sports will not be allowed
Princess Reema bit Bandar, a vice president for women’s affairs at the General Sports Authority said swimming, running and weightlifting will be offered but competitive sports such as association football, volleyball, basketball and tennis will not.
Saudi Arabia’s tradition has long attested women’s involvement in sports. Physical education programmes do not existing the country’s state-run girls school.
But the 2012 Olympics marked a monumental shift for the Arab state as the county’s first female athletes took part in the global event.
Saudi Arabian protests Sun, January 3, 2016
Demonstrators in the Middle East have protested against the killing of Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia.
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Demonstrators burn tires during a protest, against the execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities, in Manama, Bahrain
Speaking to a Saudi Arabian newspaper, Princess Reema said: “It is not my role to convince the society, but my role is limited to opening the doors for our girls to live a healthy lifestyle away from diseases that result from obesity and lack of movement.”
The announcement comes after the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Saudi women are 39 per cent more likely to be obese than men.
State-run Saudi girls schools do not feature PE programmes
Launching in Saudi Arabia’s capital and most populous city Riyadh as many as 250,000 jobs could be created, reports suggest.
Although the women-only gym NuYu has already opened in the city of Jeddah, capital Riyadh, Dammam and al-Khobar.
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Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar, green, one of first Arabian females allowed to compete
In order to solve the high-cost of launching and running the gyms, entrepreneurs will be called into the process.
Saudi is currently following a modernisation programme known as Saudi Vision 2030 where one of the aims is to increase “women’s participation in the workforce from 22 per cent to 30 per cent” in the next 15 years, the Metro reports.
Saudi women are still prohibited by law from operating motor vehicles, going out in public unattended by men and trying on clothes whilst shopping.
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