Yemen Participates in West Asia Olympic Women’s Games [Archives:1997/48/Sports]
Lou’a and Lina Faisal are two sisters who participated actively in various international and regional women’s table tennis championships during 1986-95. They achieved several titles and medals. They are now under training to participate in the West Asia Olympic Championship. Yemen Times visited their training camp and talked to the aspiring athletes.
Q: Why did you stop training since 1995? A: Because of the marriage of my sister Lina and also because there we could not raise money for our training and other needs.
Q: Is there now sufficient support for you to participate in the West Asia Olympic Championship which will be held in December 1997? A: We were invited and now supported by Yemen Olympic Committee. The training period was short, however. But we doubled our efforts to achieve positive results.
Q: What is the position of your family in your endeavors? A: Actually credit for our achievements go to our family, and especially our father who is really our first coach.
Q: What kind of obstacles do you face given that you are female athletes? A: We did not meet any major obstacles on that count. To the contrary, we received lots of encouragement, specially from the President of the Republic, General Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Q: How well developed are the female table tennis games in Yemen? A: There is some attention to this game. As a result, there are some well qualified Yemeni athletes – both males and females, who won many Arab championships. But in general, female athletes do not find enough room to train or to participate in tournaments.
Q: Are there another female team to participate in the women’s table tennis games? A: At this moment, we are the only team. I hope that there will be in the future.
Q: Being female athletes, do you face special or additional obstacles? A: No, not really. Actually we get a lot of encouragement.
Q: Is there enough attention being paid to female sports? A: There is no such thing as female sports. But if you are asking whether female athletes get enough support, the answer is no. There are, as you, limitations due to social and other values and norms.