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.


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.