Rock stars get ready to roll in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula

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Adventurers of all ages soon will be able to see the spectacular landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region up close — by rock climbing. (SPA)
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Adventurers of all ages soon will be able to see the spectacular landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region up close — by rock climbing. (SPA)
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Adventurers of all ages soon will be able to see the spectacular landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region up close — by rock climbing. (SPA)
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Adventurers of all ages soon will be able to see the spectacular landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region up close — by rock climbing. (SPA)
Updated 11 November 2018
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Rock stars get ready to roll in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula

JEDDAH: Adventurers of all ages soon will be able to see the spectacular landscapes of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula region up close — by rock climbing.
The Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU) announced plans to encourage the sport of rock climbing in the province by identifying and developing selected climbing paths, offering climbers of different ages and abilities the best facilities to help them discover the province.
Saudi and overseas climbers will be able to enjoy their sport in Al-Ula against a backdrop of some of the Kingdom’s most dramatic landscapes. The result will be an unforgettable experience in a unique historic and heritage site, with climbers joining the province’s pioneers of adventure and exploration.
With its historic treasures and spectacular landscapes, Al-Ula has the potential to become one of the most important tourist destinations in the world not only for cultural tourism, but also for sports, leisure and adventurous travel.
The RCU will develop the climbing routes through its partnership with the Saudi Climbing Federation (SCF). It seeks to put Al-Ula among the leading international tourist destinations and showcase the province’s adventure attractions, breathtaking natural scenery, and historic and heritage sites.
A group of Saudi climbers embarked on exploratory trips to different sites in Al-Ula from Oct.11-14 to identify climbing paths — the first time a large number of climbers from the SCF came together to enjoy rock and mountain climbing in the region.
The trips were led by SCF President Prince Bandar bin Khalid, who was accompanied by Yasmine Al-Qahtani, director-general of the federation.
The commission’s teams and the SCF will continue to identify climbing tracks, develop the necessary infrastructure and establish plans to ensure climbers’ safety. The partnership will also train Al-Ula residents as climbing guides to protect climbers’ safety as part of the efforts to promote social participation in the province. This will provide more job opportunities for the people of Al-Ula and support its local economy.
“Rock climbing is a sport that everyone can practice without any prior requirements,” Al-Qahtani said. “The tracks that the federation will develop will be suitable for climbers from different age groups. The sense of achievement you get when you reach the top cannot be described and the view from the top will be inspirational.”
The memorandum of understanding signed between the RCU and the SCF will provide a cooperative framework based on discussion, dialogue and communication to develop the sport in accordance with the best sustainable development practices.


Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

Updated 14 November 2018
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Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”