First ladies’s bike race diversifies sport in Syria

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Feb 3, 2021

A bunch of feminine journalists and activists within the metropolis of Qamishli, in northeastern Syria, are behind an initiative known as “I Want a Bike” that strives to beat traditions and taboos that prohibit ladies from driving bicycles and bikes in addition to encourage reliance on bicycles and cut back air pollution.

I Want a Bike has acquired broad acclaim amongst native ladies.

Midia Ghanem, a 28-year-old reporter for a neighborhood newspaper known as Ronahi, first considered the thought. In cooperation with the Sports Federation affiliated with the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, she placed on the first ladies’s biking race on Jan. 16, the primary such race within the space.

Ghanem advised Al-Monitor that about 30 contributors competed in within the city of Amuda, west of Qamishli. She stated, “It took a lot of time and effort to prepare for the competition and I trained the competitors for two months.”

Ghanem famous, “Since our team succeeded, we are planning to hold competitions in different cities and towns in northeastern Syria, with the participation of women from Kobani, Derek, Manbij, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and other places. We seek to turn our competition into a wider annual event to reach all of northeastern Syria, with the participation of the largest number of women possible.”

She defined that the three-kilometer race began on the Darbasiyah roundabout and ended at downtown Amuda’s Free Woman Square. The prime three finishers received coaching bicycles supplied by the Sports Federation.

Ghanem stated, “I have been riding a bike since childhood and never stopped. All my friends can testify that I am a skilled bike rider. One of my friends asked me once to teach her to ride a bike, so I taught her within five hours. When I saw how happy she was to be able to ride a bike, I got the idea for the I Want a Bike campaign.”

She stated that about two months in the past, “I presented the idea to my colleague, journalist Shinda Akram, who works as a TV host at a local channel. She was interested and just a few days later we had formed a cycling team of 15 young women. Every day we have new women joining the team, which includes 50 women today, and we welcome others to join whenever.”

Speaking in regards to the difficulties she confronted, Ghanem famous that she has been harassed for driving a motorbike to work, however she did not let it cease her because of the assist of mates and co-workers. “I get my daily exercise by riding my bike to work, not to mention that using bikes reduces car exhaust that causes respiratory diseases, and it is an easy, clean and economical means of transportation.”

Akram advised Al-Monitor, “Our campaign calls for encouraging women’s cycling and even motorbike riding in public streets, and for breaking the barrier of fear for some girls who are too shy to ride bikes.”

Akram stated, “Riding a bike needs appropriate clothing, and it is preferable to wear sporty clothes for comfort and protection,” including that girls sadly even have to think about their clothes whereas driving bicycles in order that they don’t seem to be targets of harassment and bullying.

Rider Rima Abdel Samad received first place within the Jan. 16 race. Heba Aladdin got here in second and Narin Nazir got here in third, they usually all acquired bicycles.

Aladdin advised Al-Monitor that taking part was a dream come true. She identified that bike driving saves commuters time by serving to them escape site visitors, and it additionally reduces air air pollution.

Local heart specialist Luay Hassan advised Al-Monitor that biking has each bodily and psychological well being advantages for ladies, noting, “Women cycling daily, whether for pleasure or as a means of transportation, helps fight obesity, promotes cardiovascular health and reduces anxiety and depression. It also maintains health and strengthens the bones, as well as helping to burn a lot of calories and generally improves the level of fitness.”