SHARJAH, The Arab Women Sports Tournament, AWST, organised by Sharjah Women's Sports, SWS, has broken a personal record, with the largest participation in its eight-year history with a record number of 74 clubs from 16 Arab countries, which will be competing in the fifth edition, the tournament's Supreme Organising Committee announced.

Set to run from 2nd to 12th February, 2020, AWST 2020 will be held under the patronage of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Chairperson of SWS.

The announcement was made at a press conference on Wednesday at the iconic Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 Monument in the presence of Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Head of the SOC of AWST; Issa Hilal Al Hizami, Secretary-General of the Sharjah Sports Council; Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Deputy Head of the SOC of AWST, Head of the Executive Committee and Director-General of SWS; Abdulaziz Taryam, CEO, Advisor and General Manager of Etisalat � Northern Emirates; and Rashid Al Obaid, Director of Sharjah Sports Channel.

During the event, SOC revealed that the UAE topped the list with 14 participating clubs, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA, with 12 clubs. The Committee also confirmed that nine clubs will be representing Bahrain, while Jordan, Kuwait, and Algeria would participate in the sporting event with six clubs each.

The rest of the participating countries include Egypt with four clubs; Libya, Sudan, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, and Palestine with two clubs each; and Oman, Iraq, and Morocco with one each.

The committee announced that UAE and Bahrain will compete in all nine sports: shooting, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, athletics, show jumping, fencing, archery and karate. Saudi Arabia will compete in all sports except shooting.

Kuwait is gearing up to take part in the shooting, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, archery and karate competitions, while the Egyptian clubs will compete in shooting, basketball, volleyball, table tennis, archery and karate.

Jordanian sportswomen will be aiming for top spots in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, athletics, show jumping, and karate. Algerian athletes will concentrate on volleyball, table tennis, archery, karate, shooting and basketball, while Libya will participate in table tennis, athletics, and karate.

Sudanese athletes will compete in athletics, show jumping, and archery, while Syrian sportswomen will take part in volleyball and karate. The Tunisian teams will compete in volleyball and basketball, while Palestinian sportswomen will test their might in athletics and karate. Shooting will be the only sport Omani athletes will participate in, while Qatari sportswomen will compete in fencing and shooting. Iraq and Morocco too will participate in only one sport each, archery and table tennis, respectively.

The SOC revealed that 12 clubs are gearing up to compete in karate � the highest-ever participation witnessed by this category since the inaugural edition of the AWST.

The committee announced the attendance of several high-ranking sports officials, most notably, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Sports Authority; Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, member of the International Olympic Committee; Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports in Egypt, and Gunilla Lindberg, Member of the International Olympic Committee, Secretary-General of the Association of National Olympic Committees.

The SOC announced that the basketball, volleyball, archery and karate competitions will kick off on 3rd February, followed by table tennis on Tuesday, shooting and show jumping on Wednesday, athletics on Saturday, and fencing on Sunday.

The draw dates for selecting the teams for the various competitions will be as follows: 1st February for basketball, volleyball and archery; 2nd February for karate and show jumping; 3rd for shooting and table tennis; 7th for athletics; and 8th for fencing.

In a keynote speech, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said, "We consider the AWST as our message to the rest of the Arab societies, a bridge for collaboration, and a platform for Arab sportswomen. Since the beginning, Sharjah has worked tirelessly to make sports accessible to everyone."

Al Obaid said, "When H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi set the pillars of the emirate's cultural project, he designated the media as an integral partner in supporting various sectors in the emirate, including the advancement of women's sports and the various efforts of SWS because we believe that empowering women in sports is necessary to empower society."

Source: Emirates News Agency