It’s not a usual sight in the Gulf to see a woman coaching across sports, and witnessing a woman coaching a men’s team is nothing short of unbelievable. However, change towards progressive acceptance is always welcoming and Bahrain-based Fatima Reyadh is leaving no stone unturned to challenge prejudices. Reyadh was recently made assistant coach for the Al-Najma Basketball Club, a men’s team, in Manama, Bahrain.
33-year-old Fatima Reyadh makes history by becoming the first woman to coach a men’s basketball team, Al-Najma Club, in the capital of Bahrain.
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Who Is Fatima Reyadh?
A mother of a seven-year-old girl, Fatima Reyadh is a woman of many talents. A Taekwondo black belt holder, Reyadh’s basketball journey goes way back to her childhood. She followed her mother’s footsteps into basketball accompanying her to a woman’s basketball team headquarters, where her mother worked as a coach. As an athletic fanatic, Reyadh is actively involved in tennis, running and cycling in the spare time she gets from coaching basketball. She is currently a Level 2 holder in the world association of basketball coaches and a National coach in level 3 in Canadian basketball.
Reyadh started her sporting career by first training a team of young girls and boys long before she was appointed by the Al-Najma Basketball Club. It was far from common sight to see a young mother guiding a group of male basketball players in an indoor stadium in a Gulf country. Reyadh made it happen but her journey has all been about standing up for her beliefs and fighting prejudices.
Reyadh doesn’t plan to stop her, she now aims to become the head coach of the team and bring back home the national championship she dreamt of. Reyadh actively shares her sporting journey on her social media account to inspire more women out there to embrace sports.
Facing the biggest challenges of acceptance initially in her career, Reyadh had to fight a lot of stigmas when it came to women leading men in an arena that was prejudicially reserved for men. Actively training her daughter in the sport too, Reyadh’s attempts at making the sporting world in Bahrain an equal working opportunity for women is a huge step going forward.