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Lina Al Maeena

Sports Administrator, Saudi Arabia

Lina Al Maeena is the co-founder of Jeddah United, academy, the first accredited academy in KSA, training girls and boys in sports to promote the culture of sport in the Kingdom, and one of the first Saudi women to climb Everest Base Camp among 10 Saudi women climbers to promote sports and its relation to Breast Cancer in 2012 one month before the historic Saudi participation to the London Olympics 2012. She founded a women’s basketball team long before women in sport was acceptable there. She was ranked 71st on the Forbes Saudi Arabian list of the 200 most powerful Arab women in the Middle East in 2014 and is a member of the Young Business Committee and was the first female in the Sports Investment Committee in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce. She has been a member of the Shura Council since 2016. Maeena’s work has paved the road to inspire women to advocate for an expansion of their rights, and role among Saudi Arabian society, calling for PE in public schools, and the establishing of sports science departments in universities. In 2018, Jeddah United women’s basketball was the first team that played officially under the Saudi Basketball federation in the 4th Arab Club tournament in Sharjah, UAE. As Deborah Packwood, an international sports consultant who has worked with JU, said: “[Al Maeena] has pushed the envelope for girls and women in sports, health and exercise, while simultaneously staying within the parameters of Saudi society. She collaborated with the National Unified Special Olympics basketball team that won the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi in 2019, and in October 2019, when the historic women’s basketball team was formed, half the national team were players in Jeddah United and Riyadh United academies. She is the vice president of the Sports for All federation in Saudi Arabia.

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