Qatar is out to make an impact in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat on 17–27 September.

Qatar has drawn global attention in a number of sporting events since the country was chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Following the historic announcement in 2010, a concerted effort was launched to promote more opportunities in sport, particularly for the female population. The emirate ensured that its female athletes join the country’s delegation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. And it paid off as Noor Al-Malki (sprinter), Nada Arkaji (swimming), Bahiya Al-Hamad (shooter) and Aya Maidi (table tennis) all made history in London.

Four years later in Rio de Janeiro, Qatar female athletes were again in the spotlight when Arkaji and Dalal Al-Harith (400 metres) joined a record squad of 38 athletes. The ambition to have more female athletes obviously doesn’t stop there and investment has continued to identify and train more females through to international level.

Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General Thani Abdulrahman Al-Kuwari told reporters recently that the number of Qatar’s female athletes will increase.

The reality is that Qatar has a small population. Of the 2.7 million people calling it home, only 310,000 are Qataris. Previously, it has been difficult for women to break into top level sport. But the drive from the country’s leadership for more inclusiveness will continue, and Ashgabat 2017 will provide another major international platform for them to show their progress.’

Only recently, Qatar’s first female jockey saddled up for competitive horse racing.

There is also considerable success at this year’s Gulf Women’s Games, hosted by Doha last March, when Qatar topped with 60 medals, including 21 gold in sports as diverse as athletics, chess, fencing, taekwondo, handball and basketball.

Our success is inspiring female athletes in Qatar to play and join the national team. During the tournament, we saw many players registering to join, which was amazing to see.’

So while the final number for the Qatar team to Ashgabat 2017 is still being finalised, don’t be surprised to see a bigger female contingent not simply competing, but actually vying for medals.

Check this link for more information about Ashgabat 2017.