Being pitted against some of the world’s toughest athletes at a young age has its own benefits. Hussa Fareed takes us into the mind of a sports champion.
Seventeen-year-old Hussa bowed out after the first round at the Red Bull Queen of the Rock finals in Taiwan last month.
The teenager, who hails from Riffa, was a first-time participant and the youngest female finalist at the one on one street basketball event.
Hussa has been playing basketball since she was in primary school. At 16, she joined the Al Hidd Club and started playing professionally. The national team member, who also plays for Alba Club, qualified for the world finals after beating her sister Maryam in the Bahrain leg of the battle. Back from the Samasana Island finals, she tells us about her experience and aspirations.
Woman This Month (WTM): How was the experience in Taiwan?
Hussa Fareed (HF): It was exciting to represent Bahrain in the world finals. The level of play was top-class and most of the players were more experienced. The average age was 26 years, which made me the youngest competitor. Even though I didn’t make it past the first round, the experience has been invaluable. Meeting girls from across the world and making friends with them was equally memorable.
WTM: What motivated you to compete in the qualifiers in Bahrain?
HF: The Basketball Federation told us about the challenge; I participated for the fun of it. I’d never expected to win the title. But as the play progressed, I won round after round. The possibility of winning grew.
WTM: Did your family have a role in your achievements?
HF: I began playing at the age of six. My father, who was a basketball player with Al Ahli Club, trained and encouraged me. He was so proud when my sister and I reached the Bahrain finale. He is single-handedly responsible for getting us here.
WTM: How did it feel to beat your sister in Bahrain?
HF: It’s not a good feeling to play against your own sister. Although she’s a professional like me, we were never pitted against each other. In local games or other competitions, we played together.
WTM: What can be done to encourage girls’ participation in sports?
HF: Girls should get into sports at an early age, especially basketball. In Lebanon, the Red Bull Queen of the Rock finalist plays for the national team. There are many opportunities; girls have to take that first step.
WTM: Who has been your role model in the world of sport?
HF: Kobe Bryant — he’s a great player and I try to learn from him. I aspire to reach his level of play one day.
WTM: What’s your ultimate ambition?
HF: I would love to compete in international competitions and represent Bahrain
at the Olympics and also the World Basketball Championships.