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Saudi Princess Appointed to Run Women’s Sports Sector | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia’s Sarah Attar runs in her women’s 800m round 1 heat at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholso

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al-Saud to head a new department for women in the kingdom’s General Authority for Sports.

Princess Reema has become the first Saudi woman to have been appointed president’s undersecretary for female section (Rank 15) at the General Authority for Sports. The decision was ratified at Mondays’ Cabinet session.

No details were given about the princess’s role.

The General Authority for Sports is responsible for issuing licenses to establish new sports centers and handles youth registration in sports.

The Monday evening announcement comes as Saudi Arabia prepares to send four female athletes to the Olympic games in Rio, marking the second time that Saudi women participate in the Olympics.

Four years ago, two Saudi women athletes, Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shahrkhani, had the feat of competing as the first Saudi women in the history of the games.

This time, Saudi will be better prepared for the women athletes by appointing Princess Reema in this inaugural position. The 41-year-old member of the Saudi royal family has been paving the way for Saudi women for years.

She was born in Riyadh and spent much of her childhood in the U.S., where her father was the Saudi ambassador for the U.S. for 22 years. She earned a degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University and now resides in the Saudi capital. In addition to being an ambitious businesswoman and one of Fast Company Magazine’s Most Creative People, she breaks records. One of her initiatives, 10KSA, was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2015, when 8,264 women in pink scarfs formed the World’s Largest Humanitarian Ribbon to raise awareness for breast cancer prevention. She is also a supporter of empowering Saudi women in the workplace and in the community.