19-year-old Saudi Salma Shaker reached the stage of the challenge in free diving, which depends on the ability to hold one’s breath and dive without an air cylinder, and achieved a Saudi record, which is the deepest among Arab Gulf women.
Salma explained that she has been very passionate about diving since her childhood, and she was inspired by her father, Captain Ahmed Shaker, who specializes in human biology.
She says: “My beginnings with water sports were with scuba diving, which relies on an oxygen cylinder for breathing, but I was not associated with this type of diving, but two years ago I met my coach “Maryam Shaalan” for the first time in a static lesson, that is, what is known as holding the breath out of the water, and I did By locking myself in for three minutes, my coach was impressed by my ability to hold my breath, and encouraged me to start taking the first level course in free diving. I liked the idea, but I could not take the course because I was busy.”
Salma says: “Six months ago, I watched a video of a person holding his breath for four minutes, and I felt excited and wanted to reach this degree. It took a long time until I was able to get a second level course with the JFS team “Jeddah School in Free Diving.” Two months ago, I traveled to “Dahab” in Egypt and participated in the Dahab Free Diving Competition, and after continuous training for a month, I achieved, thank God, a Saudi record of 45 meters under water, it is the deepest among the Arabian Gulf women.
Sport that Requires Physical & Mental Strength
She adds: “Free diving is swimming under water without an external source of air, and there are many ways for a person to reach a certain level of ability to hold one’s breath for a long time. This sport requires physical strength, yes, but it is also a mental sport, where a person has to focus and determination to reach his goal. Especially with the duration of breath-holding.
As for the difficulties that she faced, Salma explained that every field of sports has difficulties, but a person has to move forward and push himself forward in difficult days… “There are days when I cannot reach the depths and feel unwilling to dive, but I have learned to listen to my body I respect my abilities and my limits in order to practice this sport safely and mastery.”
New Gulf Women Record
In her response to people who look at free diving with a feeling of fear, and think that it is beyond their capabilities, she says: “Every girl should follow her passion and try what attracts her attention. We will not lose when we try the new, and free diving is one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I am aware of my mental and physical abilities, and I was surprised by how strong the mind and body are when they are united. I tell every girl that you should try free diving, as you may feel the passion that I felt, and you should do what you can to achieve what you aspire to.”