The Al Maha team became the first all-Emirati female side to compete in the open competition in the 49-year-old history of the Dubai Rugby Sevens. Their participation is an apt response to Federal National Council member’s comment that rugby is too “rough” for girls, and that they should take cooking classes to be the “perfect housewife.”

Though the team lost all three of their pool matches in the Gulf Under 19 Girls tournament on Thursday, their debut was hard to miss. They lost by a small margin, 12-10 to Dubai English Speaking College in their first match and a 15-7 loss to Abu Dhabi French.

On their debut, Sami Smara, the rugby development officer for UAE Rugby, said: “This the first time they have played in the open area of Dubai Sevens, and this is already an achievement. We just want for them to learn, enjoy, and compete. These girls are role models for other Emiratis.”

In a world where open discrimination takes place, this team of Al Maha takes an exceptional stand, breaking all barriers with their magnificent performance on the field.

Here is what the team members feel about their debut:

“Our gender doesn’t restrict us, female or male, everybody can play sports. I think it was unusual to hear that women have to cook. Sports is for everybody,” Hessa Salem Al Hamadi said. She further added, “Rugby is simple – you have to play hard and be tough to win.”

Tupac said, “Don’t give up, never give up. We are proud of ourselves, and hopefully we can score more tries and win some games.”

Their coach, Ameera Ben Fkeeh, believes that this is just the start for the girls. “These girls need more tournaments to learn and improve in rugby…Slowly, slowly, they have improved, and after three years they are far better. Before, they knew nothing about rugby. Now they know the game.”

Kudos to these inspiring girls!

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Picture Credits: Antonie Robertson/ The National

Rachna Chandira is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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