For Saudi women who can't get enough of fitness, more gyms are on the way
- 11 February 2018
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Women are flocking to gyms and fitness centres in Saudi Arabia, and a Bahraini private equity firm is only too happy to cater to them.
Since the kingdom started granting licences for women-only gyms back in February 2017, a number of fitness centres have sprung up across the country to take advantage of the many business opportunities that have opened up.
Now, Bahraini private equity firm Investcorp has decided to convert some of the fitness centres it part-owns in Saudi Arabia into women-only gyms.
“Recently, regulations were relaxed to allow women gyms. There’s tremendous demand, so we are re-purposing some of our existing gyms that used to be male-only to female-only,” Reuters reported Investcorp’s co-chief executive Rishi Kapoor as saying.
One of the oldest private equity houses in the Middle East, Investcorp has a 25 percent stake in Leejam Sports, which operates fitness clubs in Saudi Arabia under the Fitness Time brand. Around 40 of the roughly 115 existing gyms will be refitted this year to become women-only.
As part of the country’s drive to empower women and encourage them to join gyms and sports, Princess Reema bint Bandar was appointed in October 2017 as the first female president of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, which manages sports-related activities for both men and women.