Saudi Arabia’s youngest gymnast vows that she ‘will win Olympic gold’ one day

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Saudi Arabia's youngest gymnast Aya Shata. (AN photo)
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Saudi Arabia's youngest gymnast Aya Shata. (AN photo)
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Saudi Arabia's youngest gymnast Aya Shata. (AN photo)
Updated 17 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s youngest gymnast vows that she ‘will win Olympic gold’ one day

JEDDAH: When Aya Shata was 5, she told her mother she would grow up to become an Olympic champion.
Now, two years later, Saudi Arabia’s youngest gymnast is on her way to realizing her dream. And her mother, Dr. Dania Bogari, said she “will go to the ends of the earth to make that happen.”
Shata was born and raised in Jeddah and attends Jeddah Knowledge School.
The young gymnast started practicing gymnastics by herself at the age of 2, and would enrol in camps whenever she traveled.
Shata is enthusiastic about other sports, too, and has taken classes in ballet, football and basketball. She has an orange belt in karate.
Aya has several certificates from the Dynamic Code Center sports club in Jeddah, which has congratulated her on her gymnastic achievements.
Her mother said that Aya’s older brother Alwaleed had been her inspiration. “They are three years apart, and he showed her the world of sports when she first opened her eyes,” said Bogari.
“I want to go to the Olympics when I grow up, win gold medals and represent Saudi Arabia,” the young gymnast told Arab News.
She took part in many gymnastic competitions, including Spartan Arabia in January 2017.
“Even when Aya was 2, I noticed that she was different from other children,” her mother said. “She was very determined. She was passionate about gymnastics. Other kids were not — they used to cry. I felt like their mothers were pushing them into it.
“Aya is different, she loves to go and actually asks me to take her to gymnastics,” she said.
Bogari said her daughter’s determination made gender roles and age limitations meaningless.
“She was the only girl in the soccer team. It was weird for the boys, but she did well. Even in basketball, she was the youngest and the coaches wanted to put her in the younger group, but she proved she can play with the older children.”
The young gymnast cares deeply about the environment and has created a scrapbook that highlights types of pollution and their risks.
“Aside from sports, Aya is very creative,” her mother said.
Bogari urged Saudi schools to foster talent and pointed to the UAE’s “Youth Ambassador Program” as an example of talented young people being trained as future national representatives.
“Aya is so proud to be Saudi — she loves her country, and wants to represent it and show that anything others can do, we can, too.
“I hope Aya finds all the support she needs to pursue her dream as a Saudi Olympic champion. As Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: ‘The success of the nation depends on the youth.”
Meanwhile, the young gymnast’s advice to anyone who wants to succeed is to “dream big and practice more to fulfil your talent.”


Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

Updated 25 April 2018
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Green light for crown prince-led Saudi privatization program

  • The Privatization Program is one of 12 key elements of the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Tuesday approved the Privatization Program that is one of 12 key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

The program is aimed at increasing job opportunities for Saudi nationals, attracting the latest technologies and innovations, and supporting economic development.

It encourages both local and foreign investment in order to enhance the role of the private sector, with government entities adopting a regulatory and supervisory role. The aim is to increase the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40 percent to 65 percent by 2030. 

The program will aim to reach its objectives through encouraging the private sector to invest in establishing new schools, universities and health centers, while the government pursues its organizational and supervisory role in health and education.

The privatization program aims to benefit from previous success stories, with the private sector’s collaboration in the development of infrastructure, and its involvement on a large scale in sectors such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications, petrochemicals and finance.

The program sets out a series of objectives in three areas: Developing a general legal framework for policies related to privatization; establishing organizational foundations and dedicated institutions to execute the policies; and setting a timescale for their delivery. 

The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.