NADA Zeidan is an iconic Arab sportswoman. Besides being the Gulf region’s first female rally driver, she has also represented Qatar in archery at two Asian Games — Busan (2002) and Doha (2006).
Nada remembered the Doha edition with mixed emotions.
“Having already taken part in Busan, I knew what could be the build-up. On that count I wasn’t overly excited at the Doha Asian Games, but wanted to do well in my event. But unfortunately, I suffered a shoulder injury a few weeks before the Games and didn’t fully recover from it and my dreams were shattered,” said Nada.
“Actually, the surgeon had advised me against competing, but I was hoping to do well and make Qatar proud. I didn’t want to withdraw and thereby reduce the number of women participants.
“Injuries are part of a sportsperson’s career. Ups and downs are part of life. I’ve learnt to view the world from this perspective and managed to overcome personal disappointment,” she added.
Nada said it was difficult for her to choose one enduring moment of the Games, but told the proudest was when the Qatari women shooters — Anisha Saleh Juma, Samsam Saleh Juma and Ama Mohammed — stood on the podium to receive their team bronze medals.
“I forgot about my pain when I saw these girls on the podium. When I started practising sports more than 15 years ago, there weren’t many girls coming forward. I feel proud that I’ve been able to inspire quite a few of them to take up sports seriously. The Qatar Women’s Sport Committee, various national federations and Qatar Olympic Committee have been encouraging and supporting them. I hope to see more young girls coming into sports. I’m willing to share my experience with them,” she said.
Nada felt hosting the Games was Qatar’s first step towards realisation of its sports ambition and that it laid the foundation towards making Doha a major sports hub.
“The Athletes Village, which became a part of the Hamad hospital, and Aspire Zone are some of the great facilities developed in time for the Asian Games and remain as its principal legacies,” said Nada.
She also rated both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies as spectacular and memorable.