Sports media in Qatar is no longer limited to men it would seem, as at least one Qatari woman is making a name for herself in this field, despite the challenges that she has faced and continues to confront.
In an exclusive interview with Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF), Thekrayat, a Qatari director in the field of sports media, described her career in the area and the obstacles she has had to overcome.
Thekrayat credits her passion and love as producing her success in directing sports media coverage, and noted that her work in the field has often drawn surprise from colleagues who are surprised to find a woman working in her role.
“Love eases the difficulties - I was very fond of sports and this led me to ignore all the criticism and set my goal to be a successful woman in sports media,” she said.
She mentioned that she faced a great deal of criticism when she embarked on her career, but that this made her more determined to prove herself as a sports journalist and advance in her profession.
Thekrayat says that she feels very well-respected by her male counterparts in the industry, and said that any woman hoping to work within the area of sports journalism will be fine if they study their subject and ensure that they are proficient in their media of choice.
The journalist said that Al Kass sports channel had been integral to her success, and encouraged her professional development at all times.
Initially employed as freelancer, Thekrayat got her first break as a director in September 2010 and directed the programme Garayed, before moving on to Al Kass Wa Nass.
She said that the programme offers a different approach to covering the Qatar Stars League, hosting the families of players, as well as supporters and club officials to discuss the latest events in the competition.
Thekrayat is passionate about sports and tries to keep up with the latest news when she can: “I try as much as possible to follow various sporting activities – especially football.”
She explained that she has a particular interest in Spanish football and has attended El Classico matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past.
Female empowerment in the media
Thekrayat referred to the empowerment of women within the media in general, as well as sports media, which has witnessed an increase in female participation and involvement over the past five years.
The influx of young Qataris into the local media industry has contributed to that growth, and Thekrayat argued that it is essential to continue to encourage young women to get involved in journalism and media.
Continuing to train young local journalists and provide them with responsibilities at work will contribute to the emerging talent pool.
Thekrayat also highlighted the important role that media play in terms of sharing the message of Sports Day on February 14, supporting various activities and also encouraging women to engage in sports in particular.
Media coverage is one of the most important and successful methods or raising awareness of women in sport, and while there are more women getting involved in covering activities and sports journalism, there is still a general lack in interest from the audience, Thekrayat noted.
She emphasised the need to provide opportunities for women in the media to contribute to more balanced and representative coverage in general, and to provide role models to aspiring journalists and sportswomen.
As a female journalist currently enjoying success and forging a strong career within the field, Thekrayat ended her conversation with DCMF by calling on other young women interested in journalism to join her in this exciting and open industry.