Annika Sorenstam: FBM Ladies Open to ‘inspire young girls and women’ to play golf in UAE
ABU DHABI // The stage is elaborately set for the capital city to host the inaugural Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Open, a competition that aims to inspire Emirati women pursue achievement on the links.
Added as part of the Ladies European Tour, the event has attracted the leading women golfers from around the world to tee off for a slice of the US$550,000 (Dh2 million) prize fund at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club from Wednesday to Saturday.
Annika Sorenstam, one of the most successful women golfers in the history of the game who was guest of honour at the FBM Ladies Open, spoke about her involvement in the competition on Monday at the launch ceremony at the club.
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“It’s terrific that the LET is here and with this being the first female golf event in Abu Dhabi I think says a lot,” she said.
“We’re here to inspire young girls and women to pick up the game and to introduce them to the game of golf. I’d like to congratulate everyone on what they have done to bring this together.”
“It is a milestone occasion and part of our overall vision to promote women’s participation in sport,” said Dr Mai Al Jaber, representative from the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy.
“This event brings together the world’s best female golfers and provides the Emirati ladies the unique chance to meet their favourite stars and be inspired to achieve sporting stardom.”
Talal Al Hashemi, technical affairs director at Abu Dhabi Sports Council, added: “An agreement with the LET (Ladies European Tour) to run this event for five years, we are confident we will attract more Emirati women to the game.”
American Beth Allen, a seasoned professional LET player added: “It’s always special to be a part of something like this and as Annika says it’s great to be a part of such an event.
“Obviously, it would be great to win it. It’s a great golf course which I played this morning and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Melissa Reid, who has five LET titles under her belt, also expressed her enthusiasm. She added: “This is a place that’s close to my heart.
“Saadiyat is a place I always come to at the start of the year to do boot camps and I’m very proud that we have an LET tournament here. I think the course is superb. I feel it’s one of the better courses, if not the best course, that we play all year.
“But this week is also about making the game more attractive and to inspire local players. If we can get at least one lady to take up the game of golf, then we have achieved something.”
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