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Zahra Lari

Zahra Lari
Born (1995-03-03) March 3, 1995 (age 29)
Abu Dhabi
HometownAbu Dhabi
Figure skating career
CountryUnited Arab Emirates
CoachBohdan Berezenko
Began skating2007

Zahra Lari (born March 3, 1995), is an Emirati figure skater. She is the first figure skater from the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East to compete internationally. Lari is a five-time Emirati National Champion.

Along with her rigorous training, Zahra graduated from Abu Dhabi University majoring in Environmental Health and Safety. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Emirates Skating Club, which is the first established figure skating club in the country. She is a dedicated activist for the health and well-being of the UAE society and women in general. Zahra is registered and certified in the UAE National Records for her achievements in serving the Society and the State.

Personal life

Zahra Lari is from Abu Dhabi, UAE where she resides with her parents and two brothers. Her father is from the United Arab Emirates. Zahra was inspired to try figure skating at the age of 12, after watching the Disney film Ice Princess, and was able to begin skating lessons shortly after.[1] She graduated from Abu Dhabi University, where she studied environmental health and safety, though she holds the title of CEO and Co-founder of Emirates Skating Club in Abu Dhabi.[2] In 2017, she was included in a Nike, Inc. ad featuring Muslim women athletes.[3]

Lari is also the first figure skater to compete internationally in a hijab.[4] She hopes to serve as an inspiration and light to other young women.[5]

Lari got married in 2020. She has one daughter.[6]


Season Short program Free skating
2018–19 [8]
2016–18 [8]


Early career

Zahra Lari began learning to skate at the age of 12 at Zayed Sports City. Although her mother was initially supportive, it took some time before her father would let her compete, preferring she continued skating as a hobby. However, after she saw how passionate she was about the sport, she relented.[9]

2011–12 season

Her junior international debut was in the 2011-12 season at the European Cup in Canazei, Italy. She received a deduction due to her headscarf, as it was not an approved part of the costume. However, after taking up the issue with the ISU, they changed the rule, allowing for headscarves to be worn in competition.[2]

2013–14 season

Lari competed at three international junior competitions. She placed 7th at the Dubai Golden Cup, 12th at the New Year's Cup, and 26th at the Sportland Trophy.

2014–15 season

Lari began competing at the senior level and placed 4th at the FBMA Trophy – her best international placement to date. She also competed at the 2015 International Challenge Cup and placed 11th.

2015-16 season

Due to an injury, Zahra only competed at the FBMA Trophy that was held at her home rink.

2016-17 season

Zahra competed at the Asian Winter Games in Japan, Cup of Tyrol, EGNA Spring Trophy, FBMA Trophy in Abu Dhabi at her home rink, Skate Helena and Merano Cup.

2017–18 season

Zahra competed in the Nebelhorn Trophy (Olympic Qualifiers), Bavarian Open, Cup of Tyrol, FBMA trophy (held at her home rink), Golden Bear, Slovenia Open and UAE National Championship.

2018–19 season

Lari competed at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia and is the first Emirati to compete in the Winter Universiade.[10]


Due to rink closures during the COVID-19 pandemic Lari took a step back from what she realized was a "unsustainable, frenzied cycle of training and traveling."[11] She is the CEO of the Emirates Skating Club and president of the Figure Skating Committee under the UAE Winter Sports Federation.

In February 2024, Lari published an autobiographical children's book, Not Yet, with co-author Hadley Davis, the screenwriter of Ice Princess, and illustrated by Sara Alfageeh.[12]

Competitive highlights

CS: Challenger Series

Event 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18 18-19 19-20
CS Alpen Trophy 28th
CS Lombardia WD
CS Nebelhorn 33rd
CS Tallinn Trophy 28th
Asian Games 18th
Bavarian Open 15th
Cup of Tyrol 25th 19th
EduSport Trophy 8th
Egna Spring Trophy 12th
FBMA Trophy 4th 5th 15th 10th
Golden Bear 13th
Halloween Cup 16th
Int. Challenge Cup 11th
Skate Helena 14th
Merano Cup 16th
Slovenia Open 23rd
Winter Universiade 29th
International: Junior
Dubai Golden Cup 7th
New Year's Cup 12th
Sportland Trophy 26th
Emirati Champ. 1st 1st
J = Junior level

Detailed results

Senior career

2017–18 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
January 5–7, 2017 FBMA Trophy 2017 Senior 15
2016–17 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
April 6–9, 2017 Egna Spring Trophy Senior 12
February 28 - March 5, 2017 Cup of Tyrol 2017 Senior 24
February 19–26, 2017 2017 Asian Winter Games Senior 19
January 17–21, 2017 10th Europa Cup Skate Helena Senior 15
January 5–7, 2017 FBMA Trophy 2017 Senior 17
November 10–13, 2016 19th ISU Merano Cup 2016 Senior 17
2015–16 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
January 22–23, 2016 FBMA Trophy 2016 Senior 5
2014–15 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
April 3–5, 2015 FBMA Trophy 2015 Senior 4
February 19–22, 2015 International Challenge Cup 2015 Senior 12

Junior career

2013–14 season
Date Event Level SP FS Total
May 5-June 5, 2014 Dubai Golden Cup 2014[13] Junior 4
2011–12 season
April 9–13, 2012 2012 European Cup[14] Junior 15

See also

Further reading

  • Hassan, Sarah. "Zahra Lari: Ice Princess in the Arabian Desert". CNN.


  1. ^ Healy, Melinda. "My UAE: Ice skater Zahra Lari hopes to take her blades to glory". The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, Hannah. "Zahra Lari on how she became the UAE's top figure skater". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. ^ Egarter, Simone. "Nike commercial celebrates Arab female athletes 'to inspire others'". CNN. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  4. ^ Barranguet, Emmanuel. "Zahra Lari, the 'Ice Princess' in the hijab". Al Arabiya News. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  5. ^ Kuruvilla, Carol. "This Muslim Figure Skater Is Determined To Make History At The Olympics". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  6. ^ Hafsa, Lodi (31 January 2024). "Emirati Figure Skater Zahra Lari Has Written A Children's Book". MOJEH. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Zahra Lari on Instagram: "When music meets sports... 🎶Ihab Darwish X Zahra Lari ⛸ I am thrilled to announce the exciting collaboration with Ihab Darwish, talented…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  8. ^ a b "Zahra LARI". International Skating Union. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  9. ^ Hogg, Camille. "PEOPLE: Meet Zahra Lari, the UAE's figure skating superstar". Abu Dhabi World Online. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Skater Lari waves the UAE flag at Winter Universiade". Gulf News. 1 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  11. ^ Lodi, Hafsa (31 January 2024). "Emirati Figure Skater Zahra Lari Has Written A Children's Book". MOJEH. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  12. ^ "Not Yet The Scholastic Parent Store".
  13. ^ "Entries/Results". Dubai Golden Cup 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Results for ZAHRA Lari, Abu Dhabi Figure Skating Team, United Arab Emirates". European Criterium. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
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Zahra Lari
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