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Young judoka Tahani proud to compete with world's best in Tokyo Olympics
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 07 - 2021

RIYADH — In just three years after she started practicing judo in 2018, Tahani Al-Qahtani, the young Saudi judoka, feels immensely proud to be part of the Saudi team raising the green flag in the Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as to compete with the most talented judo players on this planet.
For Tahani, judo is not just a sport, but it is a real passion, as she is doing her best to score the highest achievement in life.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette from Tokyo, Tahani shared her dreams of becoming one of the judo experts in the world and a trainer for Saudi female athletes so that the world knows the real image of Saudi women who have ambitions and lofty goals.
Tahani recalled that she started practicing judo in the spring of 2018 at the training center of King Saud University in Riyadh. "I am immensely proud to have been trained as one of the most skilled and distinguished players among my female colleagues," she said.
Tahani said she did not encounter any difficulties at the beginning of her brilliant sporting career. Speaking about her ambitions, she said: "My ambitions and goals are to reach high levels with the participation in international championships in which I can raise the name of my country and to be an image of the ambitious Saudi girl in the light of Vision 2030, and a distinct image of empowering Saudi women."
"For me, judo is not only a sport but a passion, as I adore every detail of it and I continue practicing on a daily basis and do my best to achieve the highest benefits."
"My dream is to become a sports expert and to train Saudi women in judo, raise a full team of my country's daughters to compete at international platforms, and to raise the banner of my dear country with pride at all forums. I also aspire for many successes and achievements to let the world know the real image of the Saudi woman that she is ambitious and has lofty goals, keeping pace with the modern era in all respects.
Tahani treats many judo professionals as her role models. The general message that she wants to pass on to other members of Saudi society is that judo is a good sport physically, mentally and psychologically. Moreover, it is also an inexpensive sport.
She noted that judo, an ancient sport, was included in the Olympics in 1980. According to Tahani, it is preferable to start practicing judo at a much younger age, but it is okay if one starts when he or she is old.
"For example, we as Saudi judo players, started when we were young women, and it became a passion for us and we loved it and it is Ok for people of all ages."
"The important thing is to believe in your abilities and love what you do. Though I started practicing three years ago, I have accomplished a lot and the future is better for women in this sport."
Referring to her daily practice, Tahani said: "I practice twice a day, in the morning for fitness, and in the evening for judo, and I am on a good diet and do regular exercise." She said that the biggest supporters for her and all Saudi girls are Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
Regarding her training amid the coronavirus pandemic, Tahani said: My colleagues — Ranim, Hessa, Raghad — and I supported and helped each other, and even did exercises together during video calls, and this helped us maintain our stamina throughout the quarantine period.
Recalling her reaction when she was chosen for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she said: " I was overwhelmed with joy and thanked my country, which gave me this great opportunity. I will give my best and aspire for the best in the game."
Tahani's message to every Saudi girl is to continue running after dreams and ambitions until achieving them. She found a place in the first Saudi national judo team for the Olympics. Earlier, she participated in a camp in Cairo.
Tahani bagged silver in the Saudi Women's Championship 2019 and won the gold in the championship in 2020. Tahani joined a camp at the Union Training Center at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh 2020 and another internal camp at Riyadh Club in 2021.
She also joined an external camp in Tashkent in Uzbekistan in 2021 and she got training with female players and world champions from the Uzbek judo team. She represented Saudi Arabia in the Budapest World Championships in Hungary in 2021.

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