The FEI’s annual “Against All Odds” award recognizes a person who has pursued their equestrian ambitions despite a physical handicap or extremely difficult personal circumstances. In a year where global women’s solidarity has been at a premium, we were glad to see the 2018 award go to Leila Malki, a teenage girl living in Palestine who through both voice and action has stood up for women’s rights in the Middle East.
A rider since the age of five, Leila she has broken the taboo in a difficult part of the world and encouraged girls and women to enter equestrian sport. In addition to representing her country in international competition, always on a catch-ride since she has never had her own horse and with no trainer or support team, Leila is driven to share the power of horses. She has been instrumental in helping young children begin riding and volunteers to help those with special needs find strength in the saddle. She has also been vocal in promoting the sport at a national level, speaking on radio and TV about her experiences and how to overcome the challenges facing a young female rider in Palestine in reaching the international arena.
Leila’s life is proof that with passion and dedication, no obstacle is unsurmountable.
See yesterday’s feature on all 2018 FEI Award winners here.
Go Leila. Go Eventing.