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 of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 47 min 47 sec ago
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King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.