QMMF President Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah is seen with Giuseppe Luongo (second left), president of Youthstream, the company that runs the FIM World Motocross Series, FIM/CMS Director Dr Wolfgang Srb (left), Jorge Viegas (second right), FIM Vice President, and Nita Korhonen (right, Director of the Commission for Women FIM, at a press conference at Losail International Circuit.
DOHA: Qatar, one of the few Arab countries to include female athletes in their Olympic and Asian Games squads regularly, will continue to encourage women to participate in local and international racing events.
This was declared by Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah, President of QMMF, at a press conference where Finland’s Nita Korhonen raised a flag for women’s active involvment in motocross events around the world.
“How does it matter that you are from this part of the world or from another side of the globe? Sport makes people’s lives better,” Al Attiyah said when asked about Qatar’s pioneering role in including female riders in their Moto2 and Endurance teams.
“People develop their brains and bodies playing sports. It (sport) is not only for men,” the FIM Vice President added.
“What we feel is that in Europe they talk about women more and do less. This is a reality. Over here we don’t want to talk big. We are trying here to give women solutions. We know this sport is not easy for women, but we have changed many perceptions,” Al Attiyah added.
Korhonen endorsed Al Attiyah’s viewpoint on women featuring at top motorcycle races.
“We are really happy to be here. We are ready for action. We have a future in this sport. We are working hard. This level is pretty high,” Korhonen said.
“I was really impressed with the standards. We are delighted that the world bodies are investing more in women’s racing. Hopefully we will have more female riders enjoying this spectacle,” the Finn added.
Al Attiyah said women playing sport in Qatar was fully supported by the government.
“We are not working on this alone. Qatar government allows women’s active participation in sports from all walks of live. Women can drive here and they hold high positions in prestigious national institutions and they (the women) take active part in the education sector.
“So the women have the choice. We don’t force women to take up motor sport but we open the choices for them. And motor sport is not only racing.
“In motor sport a woman can be an organiser, a marketing official or she can be associated with a team,” he said. “That’s our philosophy. We don’t want to create a challenge between men and women. We are together. We need each other’s participation. We need to show the world that we are giving the women in our country the chances to rise in their chosen beats,” Al Attiyah, who is also Vice President at FIA, said.
“In the beginning we had to bring in riders like (Spain’s) Elena Rossel and (Germany’s) Nina Prinz to help Arab riders know the sport better. We had to educate women riders in this fashion,” he explained.
“Now we have riders from Lebanon and other Arab and European countries as well. We even had riders like Elena take part in Moto2 races. We even had Elena’s boyfriend carry the umbrella before races. This was a big message. Everybody was watching that even a man at a race can actually get behind a woman and support her,” Al Attiyah said to a round of applause at an official pre-event press conference.