Building a legacy in sports requires trailblazers who can generate interest, inspire others, and play for the sheer love of the game. In the Saudi Basketball Premier League, several talented players are aspiring to do just that for women’s basketball in the Kingdom.
Dareen Sabban is one such athlete. At 5-foot-4 inches, she may not look like the traditional basketball player. Sabban, a native of Jeddah, did not play basketball with her siblings or grow up around other sports. She didn’t pick up a basketball or start playing other sports until she was 17 and enrolled in college.
After teaching young athletes and playing for the Jeddah Swish Basketball Academy, Sabban was recruited by Al-Ahli Club to play in the Saudi Basketball Premier League. She became a member of the Al-Ahli Club in January, and the inaugural season of the women’s basketball league got underway in February.
Teams practice all year long despite the short three-month season in the competition. Sabban spends six evenings a week on the court for practice, league games, and friendlies while working full-time as a senior advertising executive during the day.
The expansion of sports in Saudi Arabia is a component of the Vision 2030 reform initiative, which seeks to provide a happy and healthy life as a strategic goal of a thriving society. The Kingdom is firmly committed to gender equality in all spheres, including sports, and has made it clear that sports are an essential foundation for community well-being. Sabban is helping to advance women’s basketball in the nation, along with other female players who have joined the league.
However, there have been difficulties along the way for Sabban. Her decision to play sports professionally hasn’t been well received by everyone, but she’s still motivated to change things. Her ultimate objective is to play for Saudi Arabia’s national team and establish a name for herself abroad.
Like all the clubs in the league, Al-Ahli’s aim is to excel in every season and win championships. But more importantly, the club strives to build strong teams that contribute to the growth of the league and its players. Sabban’s dedication to the sport and her desire to inspire others has already begun to make an impact, and she hopes that her journey will encourage more players, especially women, to take up basketball and pursue their passion for sports.
Source: Cosmo Politian
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