Qatari girls' sports rights activist wins IOC trophy

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 2 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has honoured six women for their outstanding contributions to the development of women's participation in sport and its administration.

Qatari Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana, a pioneer for women's and girls' sports rights in her country, was presented with the World Trophy during a ceremony here Monday.

The five continental trophies were awarded to Djènè Saran Camara (Guniea, Africa); Marlene Bjornsrud (US, Americas); Boossaba Yodbangtoey (Thailand, Asia); Ona Baboniene (Lithuania, Europe); Catherine Alice Wong (Fiji, Oceania).

As president of the Qatar Women's Sport Committee, World Trophy winner Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana has been promoting women's participation in sport across all levels. She has helped increase the selection of Qatari sportswomen to compete at international level and played an integral role securing the participation of four female athletes at the London Olympics- a first in the history of Qatar.

She has also set up training programmes in her country to develop women as coaches in handball, basketball, table tennis, football, volleyball, swimming and athletics. Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana has likewise enhanced the leadership roles of Qatari women in sport and has succeeded in attracting sponsorship for women's sport. At the community level, she has helped popularise sport among schoolgirls.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said at the ceremony: "The Olympic Movement has been at the forefront of efforts to encourage the participation of women in sport for several years now. We have made great progress towards equality on the field of play, but we have much more to do to boost the number of women coaches and sports administrators. Tonight's award-winners all serve as true role models in the pursuit of this important goal."

The winners were selected by the IOC Women and Sport Commission from a pool of 49 nominees. The applicants were submitted by National Olympic Committees (NOCs), Continental Associations and International Federations.

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