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Interview of Maryam Osama Omar by KUWAIT UPTO DATE #kuwait


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Level 1 certified cricket coach by Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and Captain of women team in Kuwait, Maryam Osama Omar. Welcome Maryam to KUWAIT UPTO DATE.

Tell me something about you/background?
I am a Palestinian girl, born and brought up in Kuwait. I can summarize who I am in 3 words; determined, hardworking and adventurous. People who know me best say that I’m daring, trouble maker and fun to be around. Ever since I was a kid I had dreams of becoming a famous sports person and I still live up to achieve this dream. In my family, due to my hyperness and naughtiness, I’m considered to be the brother to my 3 sisters. I love travelling, sports, music, art, meeting new cultures, traditions and living life to fullest.

Date of birth: 8th March 1993
Age: 20
Sports: Cricket, Basketball, martial arts, swimming, football, volleyball.
Education: Bachelor’s of Civil and structural engineering at Australian College of Kuwait (ACK).
Sports participated in: Cricket (National Team) Basketball, football and volley (College team).
Years in current sport: 3 years

What got you started ?
Summer of 2010 (my last year of high school), A circular was distributed inviting the International School of Pakistan girls (ISCP) to join cricket talent-hunt which was organized by Kuwait cricket. I wasn’t interested because I had no background of the game. My sports teacher Mrs. Shaista Tahir insisted that I should go and see. Being an Athlete, I was quite positive about learning something new so I decided to give it a try. However, I had never anticipated for this game to be the best part of my life.

What are the major challenges that you have encountered so far in your career?
Being an engineering student, I had to focus so much on studies. My father didn’t like the idea of having anything that could interrupt my education so I had to promise my dad that I would do my best in giving him what he wants ( good grades)  and in that way I would also get what I want i.e. (sports). The major challenge was the time management. With all the things that I wish to do, a day could only hold 24 hours so I had to compromise few of my activities. 

Would you like to share with us the keys of your success being captain of team?
Well, I’d like to put like this (PHD)
Passion, hard work and dedication!

What would be your ultimate achievement in life?
To be part of a test playing country (Australia) and to get the chance to participate in a world cup event, if that is to happen it would be a dream come true.

Do you always been very confident on ground?
No. Initially I wasn’t very confident. However, soon later with the help of few of my finest coaches (Coach Tariq Shah and Tahir Khan) who did not just teach me how to bowl or hold a bat but more than just cricket they taught me how to trust my ability, skills and to enjoy the game. I’ve learned to believe in myself and in what I love.

What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
One of the biggest challenges that I had gone through was to understand the game. It was at the beginning of my career. Although I’m a quick learner, it took me time to understand the rules of the game. Cricket is not just a physical game of quickness. It requires sharpness of thinking, tactics and techniques. I’ve managed to overcome this challenge by immersing myself into cricket whenever possible. Watching matches and noting down the points that I don’t understand so that I could refer back to my coaches for answers is something that I still do.

Being a cricket player, how your diet is different than other girls?
As a sports girl, I find it very important to have a balanced diet; it’s a key factor for a healthy mind.
Beside a normal healthy diet, my diet contains NO fast food but instead a great amount of vegetables and fruits, milk as a daily intake. Playing long hour matches need loads of energy and that’s only possible if we are physically fit. In order to avoid cramps, fatigue or muscle pulls. Water is one critical nutrient for athletes, shouldn’t be taken lightly. Proper water intake is necessary during matches to avoid dehydration.

What 1-2 things do you believe differentiates you from your fellows in team?
My fitness level and dedication towards cricket.

Do you have any recommended resources to share with your fans regarding cricket (website, face book page, books…etc)?

For information regarding international tournaments and updates the below links should be fine.

What was the best advice you were ever given?
The best training advise:
Initially, I was frustrated when I wasn’t able to be deliver in all three aspects of the game (Batting, bowling and fielding) That’s when Tahir Khan’s (Coach) advise came in handy, he guided me along by saying “Greatness needs time and hard work” so then I realized that I had to focus on each step separately before being able to mastering all three.

The best match Advise:
 “Fortunate favors the brave” by Tariq shah (Coach).

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? Where do you draw your inspiration?
“Rules are meant to be broken” *giggles*
There is not a specific saying or motto but I live my life drawing motivation and inspiration from the people around me. I believe that there is always something that you can learn from every person that you come across.

What has been your worst experience so far in cricket?
Losing the semi final was one of the worst experiences.
ACC U-19 Women’s Championship (2012), Kuwait performed extremely well in all the pool matches but unfortunately we weren’t able to secure a spot in the finals. If we got that win it would have been Kuwait women’s biggest achievement. However, we managed to get the 4th position which is still the best that we have reached. And by this Kuwait is the first gulf country to reach the semi.

What are your other activities in life except cricket and study?
Besides cricket and engineering, I’m devoted towards sports and art. Whenever I find a free slot in my busy schedule I either practice my other activates; martial arts, basketball and swimming or practice playing my guitar, I do sketch too but whenever in the moodJ.
I always have something to do; But Cricket is on the top of my list.

 How do you manage stress on pitch?
Being an opener, there is always a big responsibility of setting a firm platform on which the rest of the team could build on. But I’m extremely lucky to have one of the best young talented openers by my side Varshini Suresh. When we go in to bat, there’s always this huge trust and confidence on each other and this helps me release most of the built in stress. We both make the best duo; we always start the inning by achieving small targets which we set for ourselves as we bat our way through.

Who one motivate you a lot at home?
At the beginning of my career, my mother was the only person who motivated me. As much as it was hard for me to adjust to my new life style being a national cricketer, it was equally hard for her to cover up for my regular missing spot at home due practice, travelling on tours and studies. I spend most of my day at college and during the night I practice cricket and other sports too. Even on weekends when I’m supposed to be chilling with my family, I’ll be going early morning to practice. My dad hates my repetitive absence but now I’m glad he understands how much it’s important to me. Now I’m glad to say I have a full force support system at home and I love it. 

Do you see bright future as cricket player?
I actually do!
I’ll keep working hard for it because I have a dream and I’m on a quest to make it happen.

What game do you prefer to play other than cricket?
Basketball. Before joining cricket, I had a dream of becoming a national basketball player but I guess destiny has a different path planned for my future/life.

Being a girl, have you ever faced any trouble in sports?
No, not personally. My parents are quite supportive because they know that I love sports and it’s something that I live for. However, as a girl there are definitely some restrictions. No parent would allow their girls to be out of home so late J

 Who is your favorite sportsman and why?
Wasim Akram of Pakistan. He was the first cricketer that inspired me. I loved his bowling “king of swing”!
I’d love to meet him personally.

What is your way of motivating your team?
Well, we are not just a team we are a family, we are always together boosting each other. Before the match you will always find few players under tension attack and that’s totally normal. As a team player it’s my duty to spread the positive vibes among all the players. Early morning in the hotel before going to the match they all meet up in my room and few words of encouragement are all what they need to get them motivated because deep down everyone of us is a heart  eager to win, you can sense our team spirit miles away.

Anything else would you like to share?
The person who I am today is a combined effort of all people who have supported me on my journey.  I’d like to seize this opportunity to thank all who were the reason to my success.
Especial thanks to my parents, friends and loved ones for their support.  And off course a big thanks to Kuwait Cricket for giving me the chance to represent the country that I love. Mr. Asad Baig (Director of Kuwait Cricket), Mr. Mehboob Khan (Director of Kuwait women’s Cricket), Ms. Nida Mirza (Manager), Tariq Shah (Coach), Tahir Khan (Coach), and Ms. Sandra Almeida (Physio) their efforts are countless. Finally a big shouts for my team, “You all are the best”!

I would like to thank KUWAIT UP TO DATE for their magnificent effort in keeping up with all what’s new.  I am a fan of this Page and it was a great honour for me to have them publish my interview on their page.
Thanks once again.

MEET THE S.P.E.A.K. TWINS ! (Via Bazar Magazine)


Interview of Alaa & Dalal Alhomaizi (Kuwaitis) by Shabana Shaikh published in Bazar Magazine.

“We will keep SPEAK(-ing) until we succeed in promoting respect for people living with mental illnesses, in confirming the importance of mental health, and eliminating the stigma.” ~ Alaa & Dalal Alhomaizi, co-founders of SPEAK campaign

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Mental Disorders affect an estimated 450 million people worldwide, including countless Kuwaitis. Five out of ten leading causes of health disability are mental disorders, and by 2020, depression will be the second most disabling health condition in the world! This puts it ahead of heart disease, road traffic accidents, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Yet, mental disorders – which include common disorders like depression and anxiety – and people suffering from them do not get the attention they deserve. In the field of health care, and particularly public health in Kuwait, mental health not only tends to take a back seat, but also a seat of indifference. In fact, public clinics do not even have mental health professionals easily accessible to patients.

Twins, Alaa and Dalal Alhomaizi, who are currently studying psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, decided it was time there was some balance. With near perfect grades, the identical twins were easily eligible for a scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education. However, their selection of Major of psychology lost them that scholarship.

“When we went to apply for a scholarship, my father was asked by a prominent official at the Ministry for Higher Education why he would allow his daughters to deal with ‘crazy’ people and if he, or any Kuwaiti for that matter, would ever seek a psychologist. Despite my father jumping to our aid by stating that he thinks there is no shame in seeing a psychologist if they needed to, we never got the scholarship. Not only did they not support our choice and disrespected people with mental illnesses, who should never be called ‘crazy’, they were biased against the field of psychology in general by claiming it is not needed in Kuwait!” revealed Dalal.

“You can only imagine,” says Alaa, referring to their disappointing episode with the educational official, “how prejudiced our society is towards people with mental disorders, if they are this prejudiced towards people working in the field of psychology.”

However, it wasn’t until they attended a class on ‘Deviant Behavior and Social Control’ at Northeastern University, that they realized how pervasive the problem of stigma really was and that it did not only exist in Kuwait.

“We were shocked to learn about the inhumane way people with mental illness are treated in almost all societies of the world at almost every point in human history. The fact that we are in the 21st century, and society still disrespects, dehumanizes, institutionalizes, and looks down upon people with mental illness is just disgraceful. It is unfair, unfounded, and we knew we had to do something about it.”

In 2011, the twins initiated an anti-stigma and mental health advocacy campaign S.P.E.A.K., an acronym for Standing for Psychological Education and Awareness in Kuwait. It is through SPEAK that Alaa and Dalal are aiming to spread awareness by educating people. “It is fundamental to separate the myths from the facts,” explained Alaa, because they believe it’s the stigma attached to mental illnesses, its treatments, as well as the field of psychology, which needs to be eradicated.

“With education, we want others to know how they can help or find help, to understand the importance of mental health, and most importantly, we want to promote equality and respect for those individuals suffering from a mental illness,” they explained, adding, “People need to seek treatment instead of refusing or denying it in fear of a judgmental society.”

So, how does SPEAK help? “We spread the word through popular media, like Twitter and Facebook, and our open online forum ( is both interactive and informative,” explained Dalal, as she proceeded to give me a glimpse of it on her phone. “We help people living with psychological problems by spreading the truth about mental illness and psychology. This campaign was started to be the voice of those who are quieted by society’s judgment and rejection. People living with mental illness are fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, and classmates. They are just like you and me; there is absolutely no difference. Somebody had to give voice to this neglected topic, to promote the rights of every Kuwaiti citizen to be aware of and benefit from mental health.” Fortunately, Alaa and Dalal believe Kuwait is eager for this change. Their forum addresses a wide spectrum of questions, which are answered by the girls. Even parents have approached them seeking assistance.

SPEAK has held a number of successful events in Kuwait and Boston, including a presentation at the Women’s Cultural Social Society in January 2012. Their work has been featured in National newspapers, magazines, and blogs as well as International media such as the Boston Globe. Alaa and Dalal’s research for SPEAK was featured in the Undergraduate Honors Evening at Northeastern University and will be presented in the National Collegiate Honors Conference this November.

What’s next? This fall, on World Mental Health Day, SPEAK will host an unprecedented event, an event unlike any other Kuwait has had before. On October 10 and 11, SPEAK in association with the Ministry of Health will host a conference featuring leading psychiatrists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, the Number 1 hospital in the USA. The department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital has been ranked No.1 for 16 consecutive years!

When asked how they were able to convince Harvard doctors into coming to Kuwait for their conference, Alaa responded, “We had been working in this department as research assistants for 4 months when we decided to approach our manager with our idea. We were very prepared and we created a fully developed plan. After 2 months of meetings, the leaders of the department enthusiastically approved and supported our event.” The two-day event will include large public presentations in the evening and seminars for doctors and health professionals in the morning.

These two enthusiastic youngsters’ vision for the future is just as clear as their research and statistics were for this interview. The twins plan to change the field of mental health in Kuwait, not only for the public and professionals, but for future generations as well.

That might surely take a lot of effort and dedication, but at twenty-three, Alaa and Dalal seem to be lacking in neither. They efficiently juggle their advocacy campaign along with their undergraduate honors education and a part-time research internship in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.