Female Saudi black belt shares her story

Nehad Sulaimani is a sports lover and karate black belt who once captained a basketball team. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Female Saudi black belt shares her story

  • She has made time to establish her own magazine for mothers and children to nurture their health and fitness

JEDDAH: Tall, slender and graceful, Nehad Sulaimani is not your typical black belt in karate.
“During my childhood, I lived abroad with my parents. They noticed how active I was in school and encouraged me to try different sports. From then on, the seed was planted and now, I am in love with sport,” she smiles, recalling those early days at the age of 8.
Most Saudi women witnessed previous generations, who did not practice structured sport yet remain relatively fit. The reason, of course, is that many of their grandmothers had a more active lifestyle than we do today.
In a more passive, digital world, sport is increasingly important to replace that active existence. As part of Vision 2030, physical education was formally incorporated into girls’ public schools in Saudi Arabia in 2017. 
The Kingdom’s drive to encourage more women into sports continued with the appointment of Princess Reema bint Bandar as the first woman to head the Saudi Federation for Community Sports.
Since 2014, Sulaimani has trained with coach Rawan Zahran, professional trainer and founder of Sweat Army gym. She also trains with US fitness icon Alexia Clarke. 
While Sulaimani has a black belt in karate, she also became the captain of the  Saudi women’s basketball team — the first women’s team to play at Al-Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah.
“I tell young girls if they want to have a good life and good body, doing exercise is important for physical and mental health. Eating healthy food goes hand in hand with that,” Sulaimani stressed.
She added that finding an appropriate area to exercise in was important to increase its effectiveness, as well as one’s own enjoyment: “Walking and jogging on the Corniche in Jeddah is lovely, especially during cooler times of the day.” 
With the abundance of gyms and sport facilities in Saudi Arabia for women, there is no excuse for not exercising or engaging in physical activity. 
Saudi women have participated in the Olympics and have founded teams in different sports.
The Kingdom even has a woman racing driver, Reema Juffali, who made history representing her country in the 2019 F4 British Championship.
As for social media, it has proven to be a powerful tool for exchanging ideas and an excellent way to reach out to the public. Sulaimani uses it to help others with exercise by posting demonstration videos.
“Social media allows me to show others my class. I give them workout ideas and explore various exercise moves,” Sulaimani continued. 
She has also made time to establish her own magazine for mothers and children to nurture their health and fitness.


Man United manager refuses to blame Pogba after penalty miss

Updated 20 August 2019
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Man United manager refuses to blame Pogba after penalty miss

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he allows both Pogba and Rashford to take spot kicks

WOLVERHAMPTON: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to blame Paul Pogba after the Manchester United star missed a penalty in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Wolves after taking spot-kick duties from Marcus Rashford.

Pogba wasted a chance to give United their second successive Premier League win when his penalty was saved by Wolves keeper Rui Patricio.

It was the fourth missed penalty by Pogba since the start of last season. The French midfielder appeared to tell Rashford that he wanted to take it, even though his United teammate had scored from the spot against Chelsea last weekend.

United manager Solskjaer said he allows both Pogba and Rashford to take spot kicks.

“The two of them are the designated  penalty shooters and it’s up to them there and then who feels ‘this is mine’,” he said.

“Sometimes players just feel they are confident enough to score. Paul has scored so many penalties for us and today Rui Patricio made a good save.

“The two of them have been very confident. I like players with confidence and the feeling that ‘I can do this’.”

Former United star Gary Neville called on Solskjaer to resolve the issue before his team’s next penalty.

“They should decide in the dressing room who is the penalty taker — it’s embarrassing,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“This is a Manchester United penalty, this not a tombola, this is not under-fives on the school field.

“Rashford scored last week — take the penalty. But there wasn’t a leader out there. Something wasn’t right.”

Rashford revealed Pogba had said he wanted to take the kick and, publicly at least, the England striker had no problem with that.

“Paul wanted to take it, it’s that simple. Everybody can miss a penalty. He’s scored countless penalties for us so it’s normal to miss one.

“I took one last week so for me it’s no problem for him to take one this week.

“It’s unfortunate he didn’t score but it’s not on him, it’s as a team and we take it forward to the next game.”

It was a disappointing result for United after they dominated the opening period, with Solskjaer admitting they lost their way in a “sloppy” second half.

“First half was a mature performance. Second half was a bit sloppy. We are improving. We are a young team who will learn, we learned on the pitch today,” Solskjaer said.

“Wolves probably got the goal they deserve. I thought we took control again and could have won it.

“We get a penalty that normally would get us another two points, sometimes the keeper makes a good save.”

Solskjaer also refused to rule out Chile forward Alexis Sanchez leaving United before the close of the European transfer window.

Sanchez has been linked with a move to Inter Milan and was missing from United’s matchday squad at Molineux.

“Well, there’s still a couple of weeks left of the transfer window and there is a chance,” Solskjaer said.

“Some clubs have shown interest in Alexis, so we’ll see what happens. I can’t update you more than that.

“There are a few weeks for international transfers to go through but at the moment he’s our player.”