Yasmine al-Sharshani, a rising star in Qatar’s national golf team and the country’s first female golfer, is undergoing intense training in the hope to take her golf skills to an international level.
As more women take up a sport traditionally played by men, al-Sharshani says her own golf journey wasn’t always easy.
“It was a new experience for me to play with a group of boys in the national team, so of course I faced some difficulties in dealing with them, but it has become normal now and in fact, I am being spoilt in the club,” said al-Sharshani as she trained in the golf club in the country’s capital, Doha.
The 27-year-old, who has a degree in sport from Qatar University, has taken part in a range of Arab Golf tournaments and has won titles in local golf clubs.
“I participated in the Arab Games championship which was held in Qatar in 2011 and I also participated in the Arab Championship which was held in Morocco in 2011. The club holds a lot of weekly championships. I was also named the Golfer of the month in the Golf club in 2011,” she said.
Qatar’s Golf Association currently has only three female golfers but Yasmine hopes to encourage more women to join what has become an increasingly popular sport in the country.
Al-Sharshani first picked up her golf clubs at the age of 11, she joined Qatar’s national golf team in 2008 and was the only female golfer to participate in the Arab Games Doha in 2011.
She’s now setting her sights on golf courses further afield, hoping to make history by representing the Gulf state in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“The 2016 Olympics in Brazil is my ambition because the golf sport will be included after 112 years of absence. So I am preparing myself for the Olympics and I hope to have the chance to represent my country, Qatar,” she said.
Al-Sharshani’s sporting skills aren’t only limited to the golf course, she’s also a keen windsurfer.
“The windsurfing sport attracted me because it is challenging and adventurous and it is fun too. The nature of the Arabian peninsula and the sea surrounding it from all sides encouraged me to try this sport and explore it further,” she added.
The small peninsula adjoining Saudi Arabia has a population of only 1.7 million people but is aiming to become a sports hub for the Middle East and North Africa region.
Qatar will host the World Cup in 2022, and will also continue bidding for the Olympic Games, despite being unable to make the cut in the race to host the 2016 and 2020 Games.