JEDDAH: Saudis got their skates on for the ultimate rollerskating championships in Jeddah this week, which featured three days of competitions and skate-related events. Skaters from Dammam, Taif, Abha and Jeddah took part in the championships at Jawhara stadium, with rollball matches and a women’s skating marathon among the highlights.
The rollball game — a high-speed team event that mixes skating with handball and basketball — was held outside the stadium. Competitors ducked and zoomed
toward the goal posts as they made the most of Jeddah’s hot conditions.
Aseel Ashoor, who took part in the Asean freestyle skating championship in Malaysia, told Arab News: “I started skating about seven years ago, and I’m happy that the authorities are working to bring all the skaters of the country together and make us happy.
“I have met groups from Abha and Dammam — it’s a wonderful opportunity to show the world what we can do.”
Omar Al-Failakawi, from Kuwait, the development director for skating in the GCC, said: “We are just starting in Saudi Arabia. There is so much potential in this field, with freestyle, rollball, marathons and much more.
“The Saudi skaters are talented and if you asked me to choose skaters from all over the GCC, I will choose skaters from here. They will contribute not only to Saudi Arabia but also to the future of skating itself.”
After taking first place in the women’s skating marathon, 20-year-old Raiqa Zain said: “I have been waiting for an opportunity like this for years, thinking somebody will give us a chance, somebody will recognize the girls who want to skate.
“Finally, I am happy that a chance like this was given to women like me today. I hope we get more chances in the future.”
Zain, who has been skating for 10 years, said she wants to break the stereotype that women want nothing to do with skating. “I want to be the one who proves these people wrong,” she said.
The skating championships also promoted health and fitness. “We are here to teach children and adults how to stay healthy and how to take care of themselves naturally,” one trainer said.