Saudi Arabia’s e-visa system goes live with Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix tickets sale

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The new Gen2 Formula E car, being showcased on the sidelines of the press conference in Ad Diriyah. (Center for International Communication (CIC), Ministry of Media, Saudi Arabia)
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His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority; and Felipe Massa, Venturi Team Driver, at an official press conference on Tuesday, September 25, to launch the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix, which will be staged at a stunning UNESCO heritage site on the outskirts of Riyadh on 15th December 2018. Tickets for the event, now open to international visitors for the first time, are on sale at www.sharek.sa/formulae now. (Sportscode)
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The new Gen2 Formula E car, being showcased on the sidelines of the press conference in Ad Diriyah. (Center for International Communication (CIC), Ministry of Media, Saudi Arabia)
Updated 30 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s e-visa system goes live with Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix tickets sale

  • The platform offers a seamless ticket purchase and online visa application process for sporting fans from around the world
  • The venue of the event, the ancient city of Ad Diriyah, the first seat of power for Saudi’s Kings, is itself a draw for international tourists

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) on Sunday announced details of its new electronic visa system, Sharek, which has gone live and will allow international motor racing fans to travel to the Kingdom for the December 15 Formula E race, the Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix near Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia is very excited to be inviting international tourists into Kingdom for the first time as tickets for the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix go on sale via its new visa platform new  Sharek,” GSA said in a statement.

Described as a ‘milestone’ for Saudi Arabia, www.sharek.sa/formulae has gone live. In a first move to open its borders to international visitors, GSA announced last Tuesday the launch of Sharek. 

The platform offers a seamless ticket purchase and online visa application process for sporting fans from around the world wanting to experience the biggest festival of racing, live music and entertainment, including thrilling action on the track and global superstars performing on stage over three days at historical Ad Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh.

With the tickets for the December 15 event now on sale, His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, said: “This is an exciting milestone for us. When you host international championships, you have international fans who want to attend. And, of course, the best way to see Saudi Arabia is to visit through sports, this isn’t just the first way, it is the best way.

“I want them to see Saudi Arabia, I want them to see my country, I want them to meet the people and to see who we really are. The best way for people to see the real Saudi Arabia is to come and this is their chance. We are very welcoming and I’m sure people will have a different point of view when they do.

“We are very lucky to have the support of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and hopefully this will be the starting point of more events and more accessibility for fans and for people who want to visit the Kingdom.”

The venue of the event, the ancient city of Ad Diriyah, the first seat of power for Saudi’s Kings, is itself a draw for international tourists, being a stunning UNESCO heritage site. Via www.sharek.sa/formulae, travelers who buy a ticket for the race can obtain a 14-day visa for SAR640, the equivalent of approximately $170.

That allows for full entrance to the event, free mobility within specific Saudi territories. Applicants simply need to complete their personal details online, upload a photograph and a copy of their passport, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will then confirm eligibility within seconds. After payment, the visa will be emailed to the international traveler and this can be printed off and used to enter Saudi Arabia. The Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah remain off-limits to non-Muslim travelers.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “We are the first event that will be enjoying this new system of visa, only by buying a ticket for the race you can come into Saudi Arabia with a visa. I think this means another element of how Saudi Arabia is opening up for tourism. I think that is a great change.”

Princess Haifa al Saud, secretary general of the Formula E local organising committee, said: “For the first time we get to show the world what Saudi Arabia is really about from the inside, to see our youth, to feel the energy that we have, to understand us more, our culture, our tradition, our background.

“They will see how full of energy and life we are and how much we are excited to host such an event here in our country.”

Tickets for the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix start from SAR395 for a seat in the grandstand and concert access and are available at www.sharek.sa/formulae. International travelers are limited to one ticket per visa.


Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

Updated 26 May 2019
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Raptors beat Bucks to reach first NBA final

TORONTO: Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Toronto Raptors into the NBA Finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit to win the series in six games and will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet 14 for the Raptors, who used a 26-3 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to turn the game in their favor.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but the NBA’s top team in the regular season saw its bid for a first finals berth in 45 years come to a disappointing end with a fourth consecutive defeat.
Down 76-71 to start the fourth, the Raptors tied it with an 8-2 run while Leonard and Antetokounmpo were both on the bench. Ibaka’s dunk with 10:32 to go tied it at 78.
Antetokounmpo returned after a timeout, but Leonard kept sitting. That didn’t matter to Toronto, with Siakam’s basket giving the Raptors an 80-78 lead, their first lead since it was 6-3.
Leonard’s one-handed slam after Lowry’s steal gave Toronto an 87-79 lead with 6:46 to go before the Bucks responded. George Hill answered with a layup, Brook Lopez converted a three-point play and Antetokounmpo scored to cut it to 87-86 with 5:19 to go.
Lowry and Lopez swapped baskets before Gasol’s 3 put the Raptors up 92-88 with 3:50 left. After another basket by Lopez, Leonard made a 3 to push Toronto’s lead to 95-90 with 3:04 to play. It was Leonard’s first 3 after missing his first seven attempts of the game.
Toronto made 12 of 27 3-point attempts, including four of eight in the fourth quarter.
Siakam, who missed a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s double-overtime win in Game 3, hit one to make it 98-94. Leonard grabbed the rebound on the second and was fouled. He made both, putting the Raptors up 100-94 with 3.9 seconds to go.
Brogdon and Middleton each made a pair from long range as the Bucks shot 6 for 9 from 3-point range in the first and closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points to lead 31-18. Toronto shot 6 for 19 in the opening quarter, missing six straight twice in the first 12 minutes.
The Bucks extended their lead to 38-23 on a 3 by Ersan Ilyasova with 7:46 left until half. Toronto cut the gap to 46-43 on a 3 by VanVleet with 1:07 left in the second, but Eric Bledsoe answered with a 3 and Antetokounmpo split a pair at the line, giving the Bucks a 50-43 advantage at the intermission.
The lead went back to 15 in the third before Leonard finished the period with a flourish. He had eight points in the final 2:01 and Toronto closed with a 10-0 run, cutting a 15-point deficit to 76-71.
TIP-INS
Bucks: Milwaukee shot 4 for 16 in the second but three of its made baskets were 3-pointers. ... The Bucks had six points in the paint in the first half. ... Coach Mike Budenholzer was called for a technical foul on Milwaukee’s first possession of the second half. Leonard missed the free throw. ... Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 10 at the free throw line.
Raptors: Danny Green, who missed all three of his field goal attempts in 16 minutes in Game 5, had another rough night. Green shot 0 for 4 in 14 minutes. ... Leonard’s 17 rebounds were his most in any game this postseason. ... Lowry had eight assists.
DRAKE WATCH
Raptors fan and ‘global ambassador’ Drake sat in his regular seat adjacent to the Toronto bench. The rapper wore a black hoodie with ‘KAWHI ME A RIVER’ printed on the back.
UP NEXT
The NBA Finals comes to Canada for the first time when the Raptors host the Warriors on Thursday night. Toronto swept Golden State in the regular season.