Assia Abdullah (Arabic: آسيا عبدالله) is a Lebanese–Syrian TV anchorwoman who currently works for the Qataraeli sports media outlet beIN Sports (Al-Jazeera Sports). Assia holds Turkish and Greek citizenship, as well as the Lebanese nationality, and she is the first female basketball commentator in the Arab world.
Assia Abdullah was born on December 2, 1988 in Clemenceau Area - Mina El-Hosn in Beirut, to a Lebanese father and a Syrian mother, and grew up in a family who loves sports and knowledge. The eldest son in her family is a previous football player and the youngest is a basketball player, her birth was a change in this patriarchal family. Her passion for sports began at the age of five, with the great support from her father "Ahmad" who wanted her to be a champion in gymnastics. However, the journey in this world was not completed, due to her trainer’s fault while trying to make her do one of the movements and was about to harm her, hence arose the "phobia" from gymnastics. After that minor injury and while Assia was participating in Lebanon Schools Championship in running for 100, 200 and 800m, she was discovered by the French coach in Al Ansar Sporting Club "Duro" who talked to her parents to let her join the club, the champion of Lebanon at that time. Assia joined Al Ansar Sporting Club as the youngest female runner and she won during her first participation the gold medal in 200m and the bronze medal in 800m. She had to stop for a year due to a back injury she suffered during one of the exercises, and made a comeback in the world of basketball, as she was selected the best playmaker in schools championship. Then she joined the Sporting Club in Beirut under the leadership of American coach Michael Cumberland. Her sporting ties have contributed to make her the core for the first National Women's Football Team, accompanied by coach Jihad Mahjoub.
Best Reciter of the Holy Quran
At the age of thirteen Assia Abdullah won the Best Reciter of the Holy Quran award in Lebanon, a contest organized annually in Lebanon for young children.
Beauty queen title
In 2003, she won the title of «Miss Venus» in Beirut.
Amid this passion for sport, Assia pursued her education at "Al Makassed" school in Beirut. Being an excellent student in primary school, she won a scholarship to finish high school with honors and then she joined the Faculty of Media and Documentation, audio-visual media department at the Lebanese University, and graduated with an "A", thanks to her successful graduation film project “Kaoumou Loot Ahia’ Yourzakoun" (The people of Loot are alive), a controversial documentary film. In the first academic year, Assia quit professional sports and joined the Lebanese University Basketball team just for fun due to the study pressure and this coincided with obtaining a diploma in French language from the Saint Joseph University. Assia Abdullah ended university study and the first year of Masters before receiving an offer from beIN Sports Channel. Assia kept the Master’s thesis on hold and came to Qatar.
The written press
Assia Abdullah left the sports world when she enrolled in university to devote her full-time for academic and practical life. In the first year at university she began working as a graduated journalist in a number of Lebanese and Arab newspapers from Al-Sharq to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai and finally Al-Akhbar (she was one of its founding team), coinciding with the Israeli war on Lebanon in July 2006, where she worked as a field reporter to cover the war. Then she devoted herself to her passion for sports and she excelled in sports field investigations that rely on investigative journalism.
Al-Jadeed TV channel
Coinciding with her work in Al-Akhbar newspaper, Assia Abdullah began her work as sports anchorwoman in Al Jadeed TV channel as the first athletic girl who moves to the world of sports journalism, just four months after she appeared with her attractive smile and childlike laugh on Al-Jadeed TV channel. She managed to impose an easy and inimitable personal style with her confident performance, her remarkable presence, her interaction, her natural smile and her look suited to sports. Her short experience as a TV presenter between the written and the visual media was enough to attract those who have an eye for talent, and make her move from Beirut to Doha, as an anchorwoman in the new Al Jazeera channel, namely Al-Jazeera Sport.
beIN Sports Channel
Assia left no space for traditional debate regarding any new anchor, their competence and their presence, thanks to her high self-confidence and her evident sports background, which led her at a record speed to the most powerful sports channel in the Arab world. In January 2009, she moved to work in the beIN Sports channel, and just as the audience loved her spontaneity as an athletic girl on Al-Jadeed TV, they also loved her as serious mature girl who was able to maintain her energy and smile on beIN Sports channel.
Besides being the first basketball woman commentator in the Arab world, Assia Abdullah has presented a number of live studios and sports programs from the heart and outside Doha, ranging from the analytical studio of NBA finals in 2010, to her currently ongoing program on beIN Sports News “World of Basketball” (Alam Alsalla). Her programs include:
- World of Basketball
- La Liga in a Week
- Behind the scenes of the Qatar Open Women's Tennis (annual)
- Outcome of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open Men (annual)
- Behind the scenes of the French Open tennis (Roland Garros)
- Between Pitches, a live football studio presented for three hours between the stadiums and live matches
- World of Speed (presented for a brief period)
- World of Tennis (presented for a brief period)
- The Countdown (during Brazil World Cup)
Most important championships and events
- 2010 FIBA World Championship, Turkey
- Issue of FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam – Malaysia, from the Asian Football Confederation headquarters in 2011
- French Open tennis Roland Garros in 2011 and 2012
- The Clásico UEFA Champions League semi-final between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid
Best Sports Woman Anchor Award
Assia Abdullah won the excellence and innovation award for the Best Sports Woman Anchor in 2011 according to the annual poll of Egyptian magazine Al Ahram Al Arabi. The Lebanese anchorwoman received this award in recognition of her "outstanding performance, distinctive sporting background, her ability to present different types of sport programs in the field work or in the studio as well as her clear excellence and her unique expressive manner in presenting news bulletins. She has contributed to presenting a unique TV sports material as news anchorwoman or as a presenter of talk shows and news, or as a reporter or commentator on basketball games programs.