Saudi female boxers take part in training session led by Ramla Ali

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Saudi girls and women took part in a boxing training session led by British-Somali fighter Ramla Ali, who is due to make history when she faces Crystal Garcia Nova on Saturday.

Ramla coached a group of 15 to 30 year olds from clubs across the country at Jeddah’s Waad Academy on Thursday morning alongside Rasha al-Khamis, who is Saudi Arabia’s first certified female boxing coach.

Ramla and Nova are set to be the first two women to appear in a professional boxing match when they face off at the Rage on the Red Sea event on Saturday.

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“The organizers inviting myself to compete and allowing this fight to go ahead really shows you the cultural shift in the landscape that is happening in the region,” Ali said in a press statement.

The boxing training session was held at Jeddah’s Waad Academy. (Supplied)
The boxing training session was held at Jeddah’s Waad Academy. (Supplied)

“I hope myself and my opponent, as well as the full card competing in Saudi Arabia inspire future generations.”

“It’s been wonderful to spend time with this group of girls today, and I hope they truly believe their ambition is limitless.”

Al-Khamis added: “Training programs are very important, not only for the athletes but to develop coaches and referees.

“The more we have, the more competitions can be organized, [and this] helps identify promising talent,” she added.

“We are constantly in the process of providing more training and increasing the number of competitions nationally and regionally, as well as looking into more programs that pave the way for future athletes.”

 Saudi girls and women participate in a boxing training session. (Supplied)
Saudi girls and women participate in a boxing training session. (Supplied)

“It’s so exciting to see the growing interest in the sport, especially following some of the incredible boxing spectacles we have like this week’s Rage on the Red Sea.”

Saudi Arabia has made unprecedented progress in improving women’s participation in sports in recent years.

Traditionally prohibited from many sporting activities, Saudi girls were allowed to take part in physical education lessons in schools starting in 2017.

In January 2018, women were allowed to attend a football match for the first time.

Women’s national teams have also been established in a range of sports since the beginning of the Vision 2030 reforms in 2017.

Female athletes from the Kingdom have racked up more than 100 medals in regional and international events since then.

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