‘More support should be provided to Tunisian female athletes’

Despite the success of many Tunisian female athletes at the local and international levels, female athletes face many problems, especially the lack of financial support and unfair practices.


Tunisia- Tunisian professional tennis player Ons Jabeur won the 2022 Madrid Open, a WTA 1000 event, and became the first female Tunisian and Arab player to win at this level. Tunisian middle- and long-distance runner Habiba Ghribi won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, giving her country its first Olympic medal by a woman. Such sporting success by women has inspired many Tunisian women to enter the world of sports. However, they face many challenges and difficulties.

NuJINHA spoke to Malika Ben Amor, former basketball player and president of a gymnastics club in Tunisia, about the sporting success by women and challenges faced by female athletes.

‘I had no interest in sports’

Malika Ben Amor became interested in sports with the support of her teachers when she was a primary school student. “When I was in third grade, one of our teachers asked us, ‘Who wants to start training for basketball?’ I raised my hand although I had no interest in sports. I played basketball until high school with the support of my teacher. Since then, I have been interested in sports.”

‘I was the only person who continued playing basketball’

Over time, her   schoolmates gave up playing basketball. “I was the only person who continued playing basketball. Now, I am 55 years old and keep playing basketball. While playing basketball, I learned how to respect my opponents and the regulation of sport. Even though we were defeated, I congratulated my opponents.”

‘I could not have played basketball without support’

Speaking about the recent decline in women’s sports, she said, “The university presidents no longer support female athletes. Female athletes face financial problems. I could not have played basketball without support.  Some associations used to give us some drinks, which was very important for us. Today, associations no longer support female athletes.”

‘Female athletes are not given enough opportunities’

Mentioning the sporting success by Tunisian women such as Anas Jaber, Habiba Ghribi, Henda Ben Mahmoud and Raqqa Rizki Buthaina Amish, she said, “If we do not encourage our children, there will be no female athletes tomorrow. Tunisian women are active in all facets of life; they work as pilots, train drivers and ship captains. Although women face many challenges, they can achieve many gains in sports.”

 In her speech, Malika Ben Amor also talked about women’s participation in decision-making positions in the field of sports. “There are many female coaches; however, they are not given enough opportunities. The patriarchal mindset does not want women to be successful.”