Saudi women have been breaking barriers, flourishing in every field previously deemed off-limits - including sports.

On Sunday, Zahra Al-Qurashi, a Saudi Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, made history after winning the kingdom's first-ever gold medal in kickboxing. This came after she competed in the women's 70 kg category at the Open International Tournament for Clubs in Amman, Jordan. 

Al-Qurashi beat her opponent, Jordanian fighter Heba Wasfi Abdul Jalil, after a tough competition between the two. 

The young woman's incredible achievement was hailed by chairman of the Saudi MMA Federation, Abdul Aziz Julaidan, who commended her results. 

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Qurashi expressed her happiness at "winning her country's first gold medal in the sport." She also spoke of how she got into the sport and what it took to participate in an international tournament.

"I got into kickboxing by coincidence, as I just wanted to join a gym. I found the class and gave it a try, and decided to keep attending the classes. A year ago, I joined Flagboxing Gym, and started training with my coach Grethe (Kraugerud). With her help, I developed my style and I am improving every day," she said. 

The kickboxing champion also shared details of her win against Abdul Jalil over the weekend, saying: 

"As soon as I entered the ring, everything went blank, I couldn't hear or see anyone but my opponent, so I don't really recall hearing my name even. I got a couple of really good kicks and punches, but she was a good opponent. I was in my own zone though, following every move and made sure I didn't make mistakes."

Hundreds of Saudis are now hailing the gold medal winner for her achievement on Twitter.

Everyone was extremely proud

"Good on you, hero."


"Alf mabrook"

The past few years have been triumphant for Saudi female athletes

In recent years, things have been looking up for Saudi female athletes, who were previously banned from taking part in several sports.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia's Taif University announced it will be offering courses in football, basketball, and karate for its female students. The move made headlines because the college was one of the first to offer physical education options for women.

In 2018, the kingdom hosted its first-ever cycling race for women and a women-only run. Both events turned out to be huge successes.

Months prior to that, the country held its first-ever women's basketball tournament and announced it will be hosting a women's football competition.

Saudi female athletes have also been making international headlines for their achievements at global scale events, including the Rio 2016 Olympics. Four female athletes attended the international games, following in the footsteps of two bold Saudi women who participated in the London 2012 games.