DiplomaticQuarter: Boosting international relations is the goal of new football tournament in Riyadh

The event aims to improve relations between the diplomatic communities.
Updated 06 September 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Boosting international relations is the goal of new football tournament in Riyadh

  • Diplomatic staff from more than 20 embassies are participating in the historic event, organized by the British Council.

RIYADH: The inaugural Diplomat’s Cup Football Tournament has kicked off in the capital, the latest event in this new era of sporting activities in Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic staff from more than 20 embassies are participating in the historic event, organized by the British Council.

Salman Qureshi of the British Council was the driving force of the international cultural initiative, with assisted by Ziyad Al-Obaidi, the tournament’s head organizer. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony held recently, Qureshi said that the event aims to improve relations between the diplomatic communities and support the Kingdom’s plans to expand and diversify all areas of socio-cultural life in line with Vision 2030, through the growth and inclusion of international entities in the Kingdom. 

John Pare, the British Council’s deputy director praised the initiative and the support of Sport Times, one of the event partners. The trophy that will be presented to the winners of the tournament was also unveiled during the opening ceremony.

Most of the diplomatic missions taking part in the tournament were represented at the ceremony and expressed their support for such social and cultural events, where people from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds can come together and learn more about each other.

The tournament is being hosted by Al Shabab Club. The participating embassies include the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Germany, France, Austria, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The British Council has also assembled a team.

The teams have been split into four groups for the first stage, with the top two in each qualifying for the knockout phase. The final and closing ceremony will be held later this month.


A jubilant Saudi Arabia celebrates its past, present … and future

Updated 24 September 2018
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A jubilant Saudi Arabia celebrates its past, present … and future

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said National Day is an opportunity to recall the achievements of the country’s founder
  • Saudi Arabia’s friends around the world outdid themselves in expressing their wishes to the Kingdom

RIYADH/JEDDAH/DUBAI:  It was a day that captured the heightened spirit of a nation.

In a year of remarkable changes, Saudi National Day on Sunday took on an exuberance like no other celebration before it, with enough fireworks to break a world record, people celebrating together outdoors across the land and landmarks around the world illuminated with the flag. 

In a speech marking the Kingdom’s 88th National Day, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman praised the nation’s growth under King Salman, saying that while Vision 2030 “looks forward to the future,” Saudi Arabia “will remain committed to the principles” of Islam, “the religion of tolerance and moderation.”

The crown prince said National Day is an opportunity to recall the achievements of the country’s founder, King Abdul Aziz, and his sons. “On our National Day, we take pride in our country’s position on an international, Islamic and Arab level.” 

His sentiments were echoed by citizens, who gathered last night in 20 cities to watch more than 900,000 fireworks light up the sky.

Laser light show at a Jeddah stadium Sunday night as part of National Day celebrations. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“I am so happy with all the changes going on under the visionary leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi women are happy to join the National Day parades, this year behind the wheel,” said Saudi actor and presenter Khairiah Abu Laban.

“We went around the city to see the lighting and the fireworks,” said Saleh Al-Omri, a pharmacist in Riyadh. “Green and white balloons fill either side of Riyadh streets.”

Saudi Arabia’s friends around the world outdid themselves in expressing their wishes to the Kingdom over the weekend, culminating on the day. 

The Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the Saudi flag, while the Nasdaq Tower’s digital 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. 

In Lebanon, Pigeon Rocks, in Raouché off the coast of Beirut, were lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. 

The UAE’s airlines got in on the game. Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on Sunday to Riyadh, and crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags.

Not to be outdone, 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. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, King Salman added an extra day, Monday, to the holiday.

Air show by the Saudi Royal Air Force in Jeddah in celebration of National Day. (SPA)