By Amira Ismail
My name is Amira Ismail. I am 23 years old. I hold a pharmacy degree from Al-Azhar University. Since I was little, I fell in love with basketball. It was my first love.
I played basketball throughout my high school years. When I reached the university, I began receiving training at the Basketball Academy. Then, I moved to the Champions’ Club, which I now consider like my second home.
Last August, I received my certification from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to become an international referee. I had to pass several exams to be awarded this certificate.
This is very important to me. I am the first girl that receive such a certificate for basketball in the Gaza Strip. I will soon be able to become a ref in games, not only the ones played by women but by men, too. This will not be easy in Gaza, but I deserve to be given this opportunity and to do the job that I love doing.
I hope that more women in Gaza will have similar opportunities so that we will help the new generation of basketball players, in fact in all sports, to reach their potential. Women must be present in all kinds of sports, in fact, in all areas of professional life.
I am happy and proud to be a woman referee in Gaza, but hopefully soon, I will not be the only one.
(All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)