Saudi hiking team travels 300,000 km to discover heritage sites

Al Hada Mountain, Taif, Saudi Arabia taken during sunset. (Shutterstock)
Updated 13 December 2017
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Saudi hiking team travels 300,000 km to discover heritage sites

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabia Hiking Team has traveled more than 300,000 km to introduce the world to the Kingdom’s mountains and mountaintops.
The team consists of 15,000 members, among whom are Europeans, Americans and Asians keen to learn about Saudi Arabia’s heritage.
The founder of the Saudi Arabia Hiking Team, Ali Al-Qahtani, told Arab News that the team is a national initiative launched in 2014 with the aim to raise the Saudi flag on, and introduce the world to the country’s historical and heritage sites.
The hiking team has produced a complete ecosystem of health, fitness, sports, and awareness-raising messages for protecting the environment, promoting teamwork, and gaining positive qualities from climbing mountains and discovering new places, according to Al-Qahtani.
He said: “We are a sports, tourism and cultural group with 15,000 members and a large audience from across the Arab World and the Arab Gulf States.”
“We perform our activities in 16 locations across Saudi Arabia, and among our team members are physicians, engineers and teachers,” Al-Qahtani continued, then added: “We promote this sport for the noble messages it conveys, especially the protection of public properties.”

Al-Qahtani said the hiking team works with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) to organize Live Saudi trips. “We organize more than six events every day and ‘Do Not Leave an Impact’ leadership workshops, in addition to studying historic and archaeological routes to ensure their environmental safety before the team members and tourists walk through them.”
He pointed out that the team identifies dangerous places, how dangerous they are, the number of participants, and sorts participants based on their participation levels— beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
“The Saudi Arabia Hiking Team has carried out more than 400 trips across the Kingdom, the Arab Gulf States, and most countries around the world. Our most recent trip was in China,” he explained.
The Saudi hiking team’s chief said: “We aim to bring tourism from abroad to inside the Kingdom, and there are planned adventures for advanced participants that include spending a whole day climbing high mountains, where we experience the diverse geographies of different locations.”
He highlighted that there is also a separate women-only team with great goals to promote tourism. “The women’s team started training and is successfully advancing,” he said. “They also participated in the UAE’s 45th National Day.”
The route length for beginners and the elderly is 3 km, while for intermediate participants, it is 20 km, and the route for advanced trips is 50 km, explained Al-Qahtani.
“The latest advanced trip was in Al-Rayth, where we used ropes and thankfully successfully completed it,” he added.
Al-Qahtani urged all adventurous youths to join the Saudi Arabia Hiking Team, pointing out that the team proudly documents its trips and enjoys good media coverage, as well as safety and tracking of routes, in addition to focusing on general health and weight loss.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.