Five minutes with Maryam Mubarak Al Ali
Written by Heba Hashem
While Maryam Mubarak Al Ali’s first passion for sports was football, as a teenager she switched her studded shoes for riding boots, and quickly immersed herself into equestrian sports to become the country’s first professional female showjumper.
You have been horseback riding since you were a teenager. What attracted you to showjumping?
No matter how much you practise or how precise you are, when you are on your horse you can either fly or fall, and it is this sense of the unknown that draws me back out there, day after day. For me, going professional was about more than just competing, it was about achieving a dream and proving that ambitions can become reality.
At what point did you decide to go professional?
In 2011, when I was just about to graduate, I competed in my first international show. Everything about it was amazing: the training beforehand, being there in the midst of professional athletes, and the pressure of representing my country. It was there and then I realised that this was my calling and there was nothing else I should be doing.
What affinity do you have with Qatar Financial Centre, and why are you proud to represent them?
Qatar Financial Centre’s tagline is ‘Great Success Comes from Great Support’. As a global business platform, they support their firms to expand and succeed. In my case, my support was also my father, Mubarak Al Ali, who is a former professional football player. He has always been my backer and has encouraged me to excel and aim for more.
What advice would you give to young Qatari sportswomen who dream of becoming champions?
To believe in themselves, even if no one else will. Obstacles in life, like those on the track or field, are there to test you. Stay focused on your dream and find a way to turn it into reality. I have seen many Qatari sportswomen in different fields, and I am sure it is only a matter of time before they are representing Qatar at the Olympics.
Where in the world will you travel next, and why?
Germany, Italy, and the UK are my next destinations. I am very much looking forward to a break before the next competition season!