Yasmeen al-Dabbagh… The Story of the Fastest Woman in Saudi Arabia

Saudi runner Yasmine Al-Dabbagh gained much admiration and interest following her participation in the Olympic Games held in Tokyo this year. Al-Dabbagh joined the Saudi team after being nominated by the Saudi Athletics Federation.

Yasmine’s journey in the Tokyo Olympics is over now, but her career and achievements are loud and extremely influential. Since then, she has become a role model for female athletes in the Kingdom, and a shining example of the women’s ability to realize their ambitions and make their dreams come true.

Her Passion and Dreams

Yasmine was born in September 1997 in the United Kingdom, but she received her education in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

When she joined the International Knowledge School in Jeddah, a love for sports grew in her. She has played many sports, including basketball, swimming, beach soccer and gymnastics. There, she developed a passion for sports.

She started her bachelor studies at Columbia University in New York, where she joined the university’s sports team in order to become a professional  runner. After college, Yasmine decided to pursue her dream seriously. Fortunately for her at that time, veteran British runner Linford Christie announced training courses, and was seeking new athletes to coach.

Jasmine did not hesitate to contact Christie. Since then, she has received training from Christie for 3 years. Christie is the most famous British runner, he won the gold medal during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, ​​and many other achievements as well.

Her Career

Prior to her Olympic appearance, Yasmine worked with the Saudi Arabian Athletics Federation, and her goal was to join the national team and compete locally. At the same time, she participated in races outside the Kingdom, including the 60-meter race at Eton in 2019 and 2020, and in two races in Lee Valley, all events are in London.

Other notable achievements are the 60-meter dash, with a time of 8.55 seconds, and the best time in the 100-meter race at13 seconds.

But the biggest achievement came on June 4, 2021, when Yasmine broke the female national record of the 100-meter race in Saudi Arabia, with a time of 13.24 seconds, and won the title of “the fastest woman in Saudi Arabia.”

Yasmeen in the official poster of the Saudi team

As a result, she had the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games held in Tokyo, after earning the federation’s nomination for the “Universality Place”.

Yasmin’s dream finally came true, and during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, she was given the honour of being the flag bearer for her nation, alongside her colleague Husein Alireza.

Yasmine previously spoke to the Emirati magazine “Arabian Business” about her views. She says it’s not an easy journey at all, but rather full of rises and falls. She also emphasized the importance of mental and physical preparation -the first one specifically- in order to reach what we aspire to achieve. According to Yasmeen, this requires a lot of faith in oneself.

Yasmine also discussed the need to balance our mental and physical health, and said that we should slow down sometimes to be able to do the things that make us relaxed and calm, then we can go back to the hard work and continue according to the plan.

Leaving the Olympics and the Legacy She Left

Unfortunately, Yasmin’s Olympic journey ended after she finished ninth in the qualifying stage, and lost to the Iranian runner Farzaneh Fasihi, who defeated her by a margin of 1.58 seconds.

While the competition in the Olympics is over, Yasmin has achieved a lot, both physical and inspirational. She was an inspiration to an entire generation of Saudi women.

Although Yasmine was out of the competition, she proved, to her country and the whole world as well, that Saudi women are multi-talented, and the time is ripe now to show these talents.

In an interview with the Emirati newspaper, The National, Yasmine talked about this “boom” the Kingdom is experiencing, and highlighted the union’s efforts to empower talented youth, providing them with the opportunity to thrive and reach high levels of professionalism.