Here we are, already in 2020 and it feels like a whole year, doesn’t it? For some reason, so much has been going on yet we are only a few days in this new decade.
If you have been following my blog in 2019, you would notice the high number of talents I shed light on and it was mind-blowing to know their stories behind their talents and the sacrifices they made to get where they are now. Now, we entered a new year that I hope it turns out to be full of surprises, peace, and love for everyone.
This year, I was a bit hesitant if I was to interview more people but I couldn’t stop now. Thus, I decided to take a different turn and focus on another category of talents. If you noticed, in 2019, I focused mainly on artistic people like photographers, digital artists, graffiti artists, and performers. This time, I am sharing a piece about a female player whom I believe is very special and she is playing a sport that is very unique just like her. This young lady is named Ebtehal Elkmeshi and she is an archery player.
A few days ago, I came across a tweet about Ebtehal that she won third place in a local competition in archery. I knew that I needed to reach out to her for an interview. I wanted to know the story behind her success in this game. Luckily, she was very welcoming of the idea and I asked her my questions and she answered them openly. I first asked her to tell more about herself apart from being an archery player. Ebtehal is a 21-year-old Engineering student who started to play archery since 2015.
It all started as she was enrolled in the scouts. One of the activities was to learn about the history of the game and to play it as a way to engage in different sports and develop. From there, it turned into an official training that ended with the formation of a national team and they started training shortly after. The passion and dedication developed from there. Looking at Ebtehal pictures during training sessions or competitions, you can tell that playing archery means a lot to her on a personal and professional level.
We talked about her major highlights, she participated in the Arab Clubs Championship for Women not to forget that it was her first participation and she only had two weeks to train and prepare for the championship. She went through intensive training and she invested a lot of time and effort in it. At that time, she was only five months in the game and she reached the half finale and it was a major achievement for her because there was no support in terms of equipment nor of supporting women to participate in competitions abroad.
Her major source of inspiration in archery is her coach Captain Sadeek, also coach Ali Arebi may their souls rest in peace. She also cherished the support she has been receiving from her family and friends on so many levels and they are the main reason she is still playing.
Ebtehal hopes to get better and better in the game and reaches the level of professionalism that will lead her into international competitions but mainly to leave an impact in the Libyan society. She hopes that through what she is doing, more woman would take the step to do the things they love regardless of what the social perception on it or how people would think as long as they love it.
For her future aspirations, she participated in Libya’s first national competition and she won the bronze medal (third place). Ebtehal told me that she will keep on doing the thing she loves until she reaches the level, she is planning on reaching. She doesn’t want to make quick progress that can soon fade away but rather make slow but stable progress that will grow into something glorifying.
Ebtehal faced many challenges when she started playing archery when people told her it is a sport for men but if we are to dig in the history of this game, we will find that archery was played by princesses in the middle ages. Only when she participated in the championship in Sharjah, UAE.
Her father documented everything, a page managed to take what her father wrote as he was expressive of his pride of his daughter but it is when she received negative comments. That made her confused because she didn’t do anything wrong and she represented Libya in a major championship that should make people proud and happy for her and not the other way around!
In addition to the comments she received, her coach went through a severe accident that he passed away because of it and that added to the struggle Ebtehal was already going through. She felt utterly lost. However, she decided to keep on training at home then she started looking for clubs that would welcome her and she was the only girl because even the girls who were with her have stopped and she felt that it was the end.
Nevertheless, she didn’t stop and she continued her practicing at home for five years until three months ago, a coach named Ahmed Ajaj came and did the impossible to bring back the girls team again in this sport so they can resume attending competitions and championships and in fact, they did, in the Libyan championship in bow and arrow for closed arenas.
”No matter how people faced you with negativity and did their best to bring you down and no matter how bad circumstances are, always believe that there is hope at the end of the tunnel and believe in yourself and in the journey, you are pursuing.” – Ebtehal Kmeshi
Her advice for any girl entering any type of sports is that you will face many obstacles and you will have a personal conflict between you and the society but don’t ever stop or give up for any reason as long as you love it. Dream and aim for the sky and always be proud of yourself and for the things you are doing. Finally, I would like to thank Ebtehal for making this piece a reality and for being the first Libyan talent I am starting off 2020 with a piece about and I wish you, dear readers, that you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.