Muscat – Breaking a stereotype, rally driver Halima al Balushi is creating a name for herself in a male dominated sport that demands endurance and machismo.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Halima revealed that her first love was equestrian sports. “During childhood, I loved riding horses but soon realised I wanted to be a rally driver.”
Halima attributed the combination of her undying passion, and relentless support from family, friends and the Oman Automobile Association (OAA) that motivates her to train hard. “Now my dream is to make Oman proud with my skills as a rally driver.”
Halima has participated in numerous local competitions, besides making a mark in the 2022 Middle East Rally Championship.
“In September, I won the first place in the Gymkhana Challenge at OAA. I was placed second in the same contest held in Ramadan this year.”
According to Halima, OAA brought back the Gymkhana Challenge in April 2022 after a gap of six years. In it, two cars compete against each other on OAA’s obstacle course.
“I participated in Saudi Arabia’s Rally Jameel, a Middle East Rally Championship, in March 2022 as navigator with Sanaa al Shekaili. We claimed ninth place. The championship saw stiff competition among 68 women rally drivers from 34 countries.”
Encouraging other women to take up the sport, she said many women are now showing interest in motor sports in the sultanate. “There is great enthusiasm to participate in the events hosted by OAA. I strive to participate in international competitions to raise the sultanate’s flag, thereby spreading this sport among Omani girls.”