Naoual Zaaraoui: Morocco’s voice for women’s sports

Former long jump athlete Naoual Zaaraoui is on her way to building Morocco's first women's sports agency for female athletes and trainers.

Naoual Zaaraoui is an advocate and voice for women’s sports in Morocco, having personally faced multiple barriers in her career along the way.

Zaaraoui came up with the idea for a sports agency dedicated to women six years ago. She plans to name it The Golden Horse Agency,  which will serve as a platform to open up the world of sport to women in Morocco. Her goal is to become Morocco’s second female sports minister, someday, which led her to take part in a three-week mentoring program at the PGA of America headquarters.

“I believe women can now be leaders today not only in sports but in fields like medicine and economics. My goal is to create a positive experience with no limitations.”

Through the PGA program, she hopes to learn more about sports marketing for diversity and other skills to help more women in Morocco pursue careers as athletes and trainers and coaches.

Zaaraoui was a long jump athlete until a knee injury in 2010 took her off course. Her passion for sports remained, and she became the Moroccan Sports Manager for the International Trainer Course (ITK) and later, a brand ambassador of Nike. Alongside building her agency, she is a youth track and field coach for the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation.

Zaaraoui grew up in a very athletic household as the daughter of El Ghazi, a Moroccan sports legend who competed in the 3000-meter steeplechase event in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

“My dad was called the ‘fast horse’ back then and I want to honor him as my role model so he can be proud of me and remembered in Morocco through my company,” Zaaraoui told the Palm Beach Post. “Today he doesn’t know anything about the agency so it will be a great surprise.”

Zaaraoui will be mentored by PGA of America’s Sandy Cross, senior director of diversity and inclusion; Laurie French, director of technology; and Jenna Tidd, business operations coordinator next week.

PGA of America’s program is part of the sixth annual US Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, where 15 countries sponsor representatives from major organizations including Google, Fox Sports, the NCAA, ESPN, the NHL, and the Women’s Sports Foundation.

This opens up opportunities for women in sports and global female leaders to share entrepreneurial and management lessons with the mentees. The focus of the discussions will be on identifying and solving existing and barriers for women’s sports.

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