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.”


World celebrates Saudi National Day

Updated 23 September 2018
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World celebrates Saudi National Day

DUBAI: From Dubai to Beirut to New York and Washington, D.C., Saudi National Day was celebrated outside of the Kingdom on Sunday as a show of patriotism by Saudis abroad and as a sign of friendship by countries around the world.

The Dubai airline operated a special one-off A380 service, known as EK 813 and EK 814, on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30 p.m. The return flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50 p.m.

A YouTube video from Emirates also showed crew handing out scarves embroidered with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers while boarding the A380 aircraft.

 

The Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the Saudi flag last night, while the Nasdaq Tower’s electronic billboard in New York’s Times Square was lit up with photos of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

The images were posted by Nasdaq Dubai, the UAE-based operation of the New York equities exchange, on Twitter with the message: “Best wishes from #NasdaqDubai to #SaudiArabia on the occasion of the 88th National Day.”

 

 

In Lebanon, Pigeons’ Rock, also known as the Rock of Raouché, located in the sea of the western capital of Beirut, was lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. The rock, one of the most important Lebanese monuments, was lit during a ceremony attended by the charge d'affaires of Saudi Arabia, Waleed bin Abdullah Bukhari, along with a crowd of dignitaries, including the Mayor of Beirut.

In Washington, the Saudi embassy’s National Day bus toured around the capital on the weekend inviting people to its celebrations on Sunday in National Harbor, Maryland.

In the UAE’s capital, the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police decorated 88 of their cars - one for every year being celebrated – with the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the words “Together Forever.”

The UAE’s airlines got in on the game. Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on the routes EK 813 and EK 814 on Sunday to the capital city of Riyadh, touching down at King Khalid International Airport at 3:30pm. Crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags, as well as white roses, to passengers boarding the aircraft.pic.twitter.com/U36yYpxE8T

Etihad said it was using the only Saudi A380 pilot in the world, Wesam Sameer Al Najjar, to fly its Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah with the UAE’s Captain Ahmed Almalood.

In the UAE, children at some schools dressed in green and sang the anthems of both countries, carrying both of their flags. In the evening, there was a Saudi National Day celebration at La Mer beachfront in Dubai that featured a supercar parade, traditional Saudi dancers and, of course, fireworks.