First-ever cards tournament gives Saudi Arabia a winning hand

Updated 17 February 2018
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First-ever cards tournament gives Saudi Arabia a winning hand

JEDDAH: Riyadh will host the first-ever Baloot championship from April 4 to 18, the General Sports Authority (GSA) has announced via Twitter.
The card game, similar to the French version Belote, is popular with Saudi men.
The championships will be held in the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, with the top four players receiving prize money totalling more than SR1 million ($270,000), including SR500,000 for the winner.
Aiman Turkistani from Makkah told Arab News. “The championship is a good idea and will raise spirits. Many will take part from all over the Kingdom and it will be exciting to witness people being competitive. It’s an ancient game that has been passed down from generation to generation, and this championship will gradually spread the culture of baloot to the Arab world, and maybe even further, on an international level.”
Baleegh Abdullah, a veteran Baloot player from Jeddah, expects women to take part in the championships, and also predicts the game’s popularity to grow.
“Baloot will definitely evolve through the championship. It’s a very competitive, clever game that relies on synchronicity between team members,” he said.
“Such prize money for a first-time championship is unprecedented. It was larger than expected, and I’m certain it will encourage people to develop an interest in the game.”


King Salman welcomes Pakistan PM Imran Khan in Jeddah

Updated 21 min 16 sec ago
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King Salman welcomes Pakistan PM Imran Khan in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met with King Salman on Wednesday as part of his first state visit overseas.

During the talks, they reviewed the close relations between their two countries, the prospects for their development and strengthening in various fields, as well as the latest regional developments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was attended by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor to the King, Prince of Makkah Region, Prince Mansour bin Mteb bin Abdulaziz and a number of other officials from both countries.

Khan arrived in the Kingdom on Tuesday for a visit expected to focus on bilateral ties, regional security and Pakistan's economic situation.

Earlier, the prime minister was received by the King at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah before the a luncheon was held in his honor.

In an interview with Al Arabiya aired on Wednesday, Khan said Pakistan would always stand by Saudi Arabia, and that anyone who comes into power in the country would visit the Kingdom first.

“Saudi Arabia came to Pakistan's aid when it needed it," Khan said. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Khan met the Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday.

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Khan received Al-Falih at his residence in Jeddah to discuss ways of cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

He also held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen

Khan, whose Tehreek-e-Insaf party won the July elections, is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other senior members of his cabinet.

On Tuesday, the former cricketer visited Madinah where he prayed at the Prophet's Mosque.