The UAE is renowned for its impressive attractions and towering skyscrapers, but it's also celebrated for the remarkable achievements of strong, iconic women who have brought pride to the nation. These women have not only overcome barriers to achieve their dreams but have also challenged gender norms, inspiring others to believe that with passion, dedication, and hard work, the sky is the limit. Connector had the privilege of interviewing one such trailblazing woman, Reem Ahmed Al Hassani, a UAE Olympic rower, a visionary Emirati entrepreneur, a champion in jiu-jitsu, the first Emirati woman to own a nautical club, who has won 60 gold, silver, and bronze sports medals, making her a true champion in her field.
Reem Ahmed Al Hassani's remarkable accomplishments and triumphs are a testament to the idea that persistent dedication can overcome any obstacle. In 2017, Reem earned recognition as a jiu-jitsu champion, followed by a triumphant victory at the 2018 Olympics. However, reaching the pinnacle of success was far from effortless.
How Did It All Start
It all started in 2017, Reem ventured on her journey by becoming the first Emirati athlete at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, and dedicated all her efforts to the sport of rowing, taking her first steps towards a new passion.
"In 2018, my hardwork paid off, and I obtained the title of UAE Olympic Rowing Champion, and after that I became an assistant Olympic rowing coach at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, and, thanks to God, I was able to obtain more of the 60 gold, silver and bronze sports medals," adds Reem.
Support Of Family
Since her early years, Reem had a deep love for sports. During her school days, she actively participated in various athletic competitions, engaging in track races, volleyball, marathons, and more. Fortunately, her family, particularly her mother, consistently encouraged her aspirations. Reem affectionately refers to her mother as the primary source of strength and the cornerstone of her life. Throughout the ups and downs, her family stood firmly beside her, and with their relentless support and faith in a god, she faced and conquered all challenges to emerge as the person she is today.
"My family is my main supporter after God, especially my mother. Therefore, I owe my gratitude to God first, then to my family, especially my father, because he taught me many things. He taught me to challenge myself and that nothing comes easy. I have to challenge myself once, twice, and three times. He also taught me to believe in God and that education is what will benefit me and lead me to what I want."
In her professional life, Reem was doing well, but health-wise, she faced challenges in 2016 and 2017. Diagnosed with Optic Neuritis in 2016, a condition causing temporary blindness, she underwent treatment. As she was recovering, she was diagnosed with pneumonia in 2017. Despite these setbacks, Reem didn't let anything hinder her passion for rowing.
Recalling that time, Reem adds, "The news was like a thunderbolt that shook my being and made me think deeply about the meaning of life. But instead of giving in to fear and despair, I decided to face the disease with all the courage and determination I could muster. The road was not easy, and I faced a lot of pain and suffering. But I never thought about giving up. I continued my journey towards achieving my goals. I received great support from my family and friends. They were like a beacon of hope that lit my way and strengthened my faith in my ability to succeed."
Reem Al Hassani's Unstoppable Journey to Success
Following her Olympic success and numerous achievements, Reem ventured into the business world as an Emirati entrepreneur. Reem now owns a marine club, with a dedicated body of water in North Yas assigned to her groundbreaking company. Additionally, she established MR Marine Sports, a major company in the UAE specialising in Olympic boat manufacturing, marine sports equipment, and sports facility management.
"Being the first Emirati woman to manufacture Olympic boats and the Chairwoman of MR Sports, I firmly believe that innovative, unique and environmentally friendly ideas are the key to success in the global market. This vision aligns with the directives of our wise leadership, who provide us with great attention and care, and in light of the launch of the unified industrial identity of the UAE under the slogan "Made in the Emirates" and the national tourism strategy until 2031.Therefore, we at MR Sports strive to provide everything that is innovative, new and environmentally friendly."
Talking about her company and work, Reem adds, "For the first time, we have innovated the 'First Floating Eco-Friendly Marine Club that Operates on Renewable and Sustainable Energy'. This project will be implemented by a team of the most skilled engineers and consultants from leading global architectural firms specialised in the construction of floating structures. We believe that this project will contribute to attracting more tourists and investors to the United Arab Emirates."
Reem's Latest Work
Reem is unstoppable, and has also formed the first Emirati Women's Adventure Team. "Motivated by my inspiring experience, I decided to form the first Emirati Women's Adventure Team to coincide with the COP 28 summit. This team aims to consolidate the sustainability of sports and tourism development, and to emphasise the importance of sports in general for Arab and Emirati women. It also aims to support women's empowerment in the sustainable development strategy."
Message For Female Entrepreneurs
Reem's journey serves as a source of inspiration for countless girls, and has a special message for every female entrepreneur out there.
"Believe in yourself, define your passion, and welcome failure as a stepping stone. Seek support from fellow female entrepreneurs, take decisive action, persist through challenges, and enjoy the journey. Entrepreneurship is a path of self-discovery, growth, and achievement. Your unique skills and perspective can make a difference. Don't let self-doubt hold you back; instead, let it fuel your determination. Enjoy the rewarding journey of building your dreams, for success is not merely a destination but a fulfilling and empowering adventure you create for yourself."
In a realm where determination, creativity, and passion hold sway, Reem Ahmed Al Hassani stands as a beacon of eternal potential. With her trailblazing ethos and steadfast dedication to athletics and entrepreneurship, she serves as a source of inspiration for countless individuals in the UAE and worldwide.
Reem's last message is for those struggling to achieve something in the sports sector, "Embrace the trials, nurture belief in your abilities, and forge ahead with unwavering passion. In the face of setbacks, learn and grow; adapt and remain resilient. Seek guidance when the road seems daunting, for there are hands eager to aid your ascent. Remember, the journey of sports is a symphony of triumphs and challenges, each note a lesson, each step a victory. With dedication and love for the game, your path to greatness unfolds not as a mere dream, but as a reality."