Saudi students race drones in run-up to DRL World Championship final

A group of 16 Saudi students competed in their own race after attending a two-day training workshop on building, programming and flying drones. (SFCSPD)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Saudi students race drones in run-up to DRL World Championship final

  • The final event of this year’s DRL championship will held on September 14
  • The federation is working to introduce regulations that will help to overcome obstacles to Saudis interested in taking up drone racing

JEDDAH: As Saudi Arabia prepares to host the grand finale of the 2018 Drone Racing League Allianz World Championship, some lucky young locals got a taste of the sport’s speed and thrills, while also learning about the technology behind it.
The seventh and final event of this year’s DRL championship will be hosted by the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones (SFCSPD) at King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah on September 14, where 10 of the world’s best drone racers will compete to be crowned world champion
Before the big race, a group of 16 Saudi students competed in their own race after attending a two-day training workshop on building, programming and flying drones, which was supervised by the DRL World Team. The participants used simulation software to learn how to control the aircraft and then got to fly the latest, state-of-the-art Racer 3 drones.
One of the participants, Mutaz Abdullah Al-Jaafari said he was pleased to have the chance to take part because it was a national event that encouraged, supported and motivated young people to get involved in the sport.
DRL fans around the world are looking forward to the final of the 2018 World Championship, which this year comes to Saudi Arabia for the first time. It is hosted by the SFCSPD, with the support of Saud Al-Qahtani, the chairman of the federation and an adviser to the Royal Court.
Nouf Al-Rakan, the federation’s executive director, said the event is in line with realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and reflects the country’s regional and international leadership in the areas of technology and sports. She added that the federation is working to introduce legislation and regulations that will help to overcome obstacles to Saudis who are interested in taking up drone racing. She said it is also pleased to play a role in introducing this modern sport to Saudi society and attracting international events, and hopes to host more international competitions and support citizens keen to participate in the sport.
Al-Rakan also expressed her pride in the young people who took part in the workshops, praising their enthusiasm and skill in helping to build a model drone that will be used in the final race.
The race in Jeddah on September 14 is the seventh and the final event in the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship, after qualifying rounds in the United States, France and Germany. Free tickets to attend the event are available online from the SFCSPD.

 


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”