Females are at the forefront as Nike celebrates the empowered women of the region in their latest campaign, “What Will They Say About You?” One of the key women in this campaign is Calisthenics athlete and first female Emirati Parkour trainer, Amal Murad. Often seen leaping from rooftops, running up walls and dangling off bars, strength and symphony are at play in Amal’s fluid movements.
Amal, who is also a Graphic Designer, is breaking stereotypes through her involvement in Parkour – an art she finds liberating, and one which also requires discipline and dedication. “When you see Parkour athletes you can see how liberated they are, and how free they are in expressing themselves through movement – it’s beautiful,” she says.
Amal says her family has been very encouraging of her athletic journey. “Both my parents are very supportive and my sister is an athlete as well, so it runs in the family,” she says. “They are all entrepreneurs and hardworking people, and that showed me what it takes to be a hardworking person to achieve my goals. They are always there to set an example and, even though we might have different opinions, they always know that as long as I’m passionate about something I will put all my energy and effort into it.”
Although she has a strong support system, Amal admits pursuing Parkour did not come without its hardships, especially as a woman in the Middle East. “The challenges are mostly my inner insecurities, the barriers that we set for ourselves as women, as well as the reservations in the culture. As we grow up, a lot of us women are always afraid of how people will perceive us.”
She adds that being in the public eye is always daunting because you’re open to people’s criticisms and comments. At the beginning, people didn’t understand what her sport was all about and why she wanted to pursue it. “People are often threatened by what they are not familiar with. They didn’t reject it per se, but I could see that it wasn’t fully understood. So it was my responsibility to introduce this sport to people and the society, as well as introducing them to myself. It’s still is a journey, and as long as I am respecting our culture and values, I believe they will start respecting me in return.”
Amal is honoured to be part of Nike’s inspirational campaign that highlights strong sportswomen in the region – encouraging them, and everyone else, to chase their dreams. She believes the mindset is growing with the times. “I’m hoping that women will start believing in themselves and in their abilities to become so much more than what they have set for themselves. We women tend to settle; we always feel like we are not capable. I believe that if we break out of that shell and if we start truly investing in ourselves, that’s when great miracles happen.”
Read about the Nike ‘What Will They Say About You’ campaign on the Sun & Sand Sports Blog, and check out our ‘How To’ series to master some new sports skills through our instructional videos. Don’t forget to sign up to the SSS newsletter for all the latest updates straight to your inbox, and find all your sporting gear at sssports.com