By Claire Valdini
Zahra Lari to become first figure skater to compete at international level
A 17-year old Emirati is set to become the first figure skater from the UAE to compete in an international competition this month.
Zahra Lari, from Abu Dhabi, will take part in the junior category at the European Cup in Italy against competitors from 40 other countries.
The UAE national, who trains six days a week before and after school, will be judged on three performances including a short performance to the soundtrack of the film Desert Flower.
Lari, who is sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Zayed Sports City, started skating at 11-years old. “I train six days a week, before school and after. Before school I get up at 4.30am and do off-ice exercise followed by on-ice training, running through routines and practicing.
“The best part about it is the feeling when you complete your jumps, but it takes a lot of work. The hardest part is getting up again when you fall down,” she said.
Lari admitted she’s faced additional challenges off the ice. “Some people used to think it is not something a Muslim or Emirati girl should be doing, but that has changed now,” she said.
“Generally women are being supported in Abu Dhabi to take part in sports.”