Qatar’s Maryam Al Ali has grown to be become the nation’s first female show jumper.
As a child Al Ali wanted to become a footballer, like her father, but quickly realized that female football is not popular in Qatar. At the age of 14, and after encouragement from her cousin, she tried horseback riding and jumping, and fell in love.
Serving currently as the Qatar Financial Center’s new brand ambassador, she decided to peruse show jumping professionally in 2011, after she participated in her first competition outside of Qatar.
Her first show outside of her home country was in Abu Dhabi, and it was where she says she fell in love with the spirit of competition, and formed a connection with her horse. Since then she has participated on several competitions across the Middle East and Europe.
She is the daughter of Mubarak Al-Ali, a professional footballer who used to play for the Qatari national team. He has been great support to the young equestrian, and have helped her overcome social and cultural obstacles.
Qatar as a nation has a great bond with horses. They cherish and respect the purebred Arabian horse as many foundations and centers have been set up for that sole reason. And horse-focused sports are very popular and anticipated.