Author: daniel fountainTue, 2018-06-05 16:20ID: 1528205529324879500
RIYADH: Six Saudi Arabian girls are set to become the first all-female delegation to lead a national team out at the opening game of the World Cup in Russia as the Green Falcons take on the hosts in the opening game on June 14.
The girls have been appointed as part of the Coca-Cola Flagbearers Program.
Aged between 13 and 17, the girls have been chosen for their ambition, for going above and beyond in their chosen fields and being role models to the youth of Saudi Arabia.
One of the girls, Mariam Shalan, is a professional free-diver and she said how proud she was to be chosen as a flagbearer.
“Its an honor for me to represent Saudi Arabia at the World Cup in Russia. Personally, its amazing to witness the change that is happening to our country, to ourselves, the youth and everyone.
“I think Saudi Arabia is on a beautiful path, a path with a lot of opportunities.”
Her fellow flagbearer, Rayouf Al-Humedhi, agrees. As creator of the hijab emoji, she was inspired by the hope of showing the millions of young girls across the globe who are veiled that they have a space in the world.
And on her historic role at the World Cup, Al-Humedhi said: “(Our generation) is the image of the future, we are the image of change. Im definitely looking forward to this experience and everything about it.
“All Saudi youth have an important role because these changes will affect them. The changes happening in Saudi Arabia are positive and Im happy to be living through these changes which will influence my generation and the ones to come.”
The program is part of Coca-Colas continued efforts to recognize and celebrate the positive changes sweeping the region. Late last year, the brand was one of the first to acknowledge King Salmans royal decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia by releasing the Change Has a Taste campaign, and coincides with the companys commitment to shining a light on the talent of young Saudi women.
Coca-Colas Middle East General Manager Murat Ozgel said: “We are delighted to support the changes that are happening in Saudi Arabia and spread the message of inclusion, diversity and support by championing these Saudi girls who are role models for the future generation of the Kingdom.”