- Title: Female basketball school conquers a man's sport in Gaza
- Date: 19th April 2019
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (RECENT) (REUTERS) MEMBERS OF FEMALE "BASKETBALL STARS ACADEMY" IN GROUP TRAINING PLAYER HOLDING BASKETBALL PLAYERS SHOOTING BASKETBALL BASKETBALLS BEING THROWN INTO HOOP VARIOUS OF PLAYERS PRACTISING BASKETBALLS BEING THROWN INTO HOOP PLAYERS PRACTISING "BASKETBALL STARTS ACADEMY" FOUNDER AND COACH, IBRAHIM SAKIK, STANDING WITH PLAYER, SAJA ZEIN, AND GIVING INSTRUCTIONS TO TEAM MEMBERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASKETBALL STARTS ACADEMY FOUNDER AND COACH, IBRAHIM SAKIK, SAYING: "The reason (for starting this team) is our utmost belief in the role of girls in the society, our utmost belief that we can be unique in the Palestinian society through sport and through playing basketball. We fully believe in integrating females (in sports), developing them, and building them through sports and playing basketball. This was our idea and our idea is that we have the capabilities, the ambition and the ability to develop in playing basketball, and that is where our idea to form the Academy came from." ACADEMY MEMBERS PLAYING WITH ONE TEAM MEMBERS DRIBBLING BASKETBALL VARIOUS OF BASKETBALL PLAYER, SAJA ZEIN, CARRYING BASKETBALL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASKETBALL PLAYER AT "BASKETBALL STARS ACADEMY", SAJA ZEIN, SAYING: "I was subject to positive and negative (comments) in the Gaza Strip. A lot of people have encouraged me, and a lot of people (wondered) how a girl would play basketball, and here the society is male-dominated. However, I did not pay attention to those criticising me, on the contrary, it made me stronger and it pushed me forward." PLAYER HOLDING BASKETBALL TO GROUND / OTHER TEAM MEMBERS SEEN PRACTISING IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF PLAYERS THROWING BASKETBALLS IN HOOP BASKETBALL PLAYER AT "BASKETBALL STARS ACADEMY", SHAHED AL-SHATLI, PRACTISING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BASKETBALL PLAYER AT "BASKETBALL STARS ACADEMY", SHAHED AL-SHATLI, SAYING: "(I played basketball) because it is a unique sport and I really love it, and it lets out the negative energy and changes the mood we live in here in the Gaza Strip." TWO BASKETBALLS ON GROUND / PLAYERS SEEN PRACTISING IN BACKGROUND AL-SHATLI PRACTISING BASKETBALLS SEEN THROWN INTO HOOP ACADEMY MEMBER PLAYING WITH BASKETBALL VARIOUS OF PLAYERS PRACTISING EXTERIOR OF BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HOSTING ACADEMY WITH SIGN READING (Arabic/English): "British International School BIS"
- Embargoed: 3rd May 2019 11:13
- Keywords: Basketball Stars Academy All-female basketball team in Gaza Women in sports Women pariticipation in sports in Gaza Women rights in Gaza British International School in Gaza
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Basketball,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001AB4LY6X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:As dozens of young women dribble basketballs in a playground of their own in Gaza, they get the opportunity to relieve the daily stress of living in the coastal enclave, as well as advancing in a sport almost dominated by men in the struggling enclave.
Coach Ibrahim Sakik, who runs "Basketball Stars Academy", decided in October 2018 to start training young girls as part of his school, out of his belief that women should play a greater role in sports.
He sees that the aspiring talents he trains do not lack the capabilities to compete in a man's world.
"Our idea is that we have the capabilities, the ambition and the ability to develop in playing basketball," he said.
His academy welcomes females from the age of four up until 18, and currently with a squad 80 female players, they are divided into three teams.
Playing basketball has become a tool for player Saja Zein to resist society's judgement or disapproval of women playing a sport widely reserved for men.
"I did not pay attention to those criticising me, on the contrary, it made me stronger and it pushed me forward," she said.
For other players, basketball is important to ease the stress of living in the coastal enclave, which has been under siege for years.
"(I played basketball) because it is a unique sport and I really love it, and it lets out the negative energy, and changes the mood we live in here in the Gaza Strip," Shahed al-Shatli said.
They practise for two to four times every week at a basketball court provided by Gaza's British International School (BIS).
The academy aims that the female players will be accredited by the Palestinian Basketball Federation in order to officially participate in local competitions.
(Production: Nehad Shana, Suheir Sheikh)
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