I started playing basketball in high school - I joined the team just for fun. When I was younger I remember my older sister playing basketball all the time. She’s sort of been my own role model, the one who pushed me to be where I am today - it really helped having someone active in the family. I’ve been playing it now for 9 years. I joined the national team in my first year out of high school, where our first Arab tournament was in Syria. I’ll never forget our tournament in Abu Dhabi when we got first place and made history as the first female team to compete in the Arab tournament. It was an intense experience.
A lot of times I’ll hear after an injury, "ok, now is the time you should stop" but that’s not a reason for me to stop. I’ll strengthen my body, and start again. Maybe when I get to my 40s I’ll think about giving it up. People in our team have children, but they keep playing. We’re trying to build the next generation of players here.
When you talk to people about professional basketball, people say “oh, I didn’t know girls play basketball in Kuwait”. We try so hard to talk to the media to raise awareness for girls. Everyone knows about NBA for example, everyone knows about the men’s teams, but no-one really hears about the WNBA.
But once through a TV broadcast in Abu Dhabi after a tournament, sports people criticised us through social media, like “Girls playing basketball? They look like boys…” You can’t let it get you down, I just shut negative thoughts out of my head. I’ve had family remarks of “Stop going [to training], you’re going to turn into a boy’, and I’m like, "Well do I look like a boy?”. We still get stared at if we go to a restaurant after a session when we’re all sweaty, with messy hair. But in Kuwait, people are going to stare at you if you’re in slacks or tight clothes anyway, so let them stare.
My priorities are going to practice instead of going to a wedding.
There aren't a lot of girls in competitive teams here but the really good girls don’t want to play because their parents don't want them to be seen on TV or don't allow them to travel, so we play a lot against guys. And they really underestimate us. They think “Oh girls, this is an easy thing”.. A lot of people underestimate our abilities, which is good for us, a challenge to prove them wrong.