Freewheeling Saudis on a roll as skate titles come to Jeddah

Winners of the All-Women Skating Marathon. (AN photo)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Freewheeling Saudis on a roll as skate titles come to Jeddah

  • They will contribute not only to Saudi Arabia but also to the future of skating itself

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.

Hot contest
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.


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 14 December 2018
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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.