Saudi gamer crowned Ad Diriyah eSport champion

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Yasser Al-Mansour, right, won the ABB FIA Formula E Road to Ad Diriyah Esports Championship. (Supplied)
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Yasser Al-Mansour won the ABB FIA Formula E Road to Ad Diriyah Esports Championship. (Supplied)
Updated 15 December 2018

Saudi gamer crowned Ad Diriyah eSport champion

  • Al-Mansour took an early lead and held it throughout to win

RIYADH: It was a big day for electric racing in Saudi Arabia, but not all heroes in Ad Diriyah sat behind a Formula E car on Saturday as one Saudi gamer held his nerve to be crowned eSport champion.
Yasser Al-Mansour netted the $125,000 prize as he saw off his competitors, who were both Saudis, to win the ABB FIA Formula E Road to Ad Diriyah Esports Championship.
Unlike Formula E race where drivers battled it out until the dying seconds, Al-Mansour took an early lead and held it throughout.
The winner, from Fara’a, a small town a few hours’ drive from Riyadh, hailed the event saying: “I kept my position even though it was tough. Every one of my competitors had impressive lap times. I’m just happy I came up on top.”
“This eSports tournament is amazing. Not only is eSport a popular among Saudi youth now it can be used to introduce countless people to the world of motor sports. The simulators we raced felt like real life,” he said.
Al-Mansour beat out Mubarak Al-Dossary, from Dhaharan, who came second and won SAR250,000, and Abdulaziz Rayes, from Jeddah, who finished third and scooped SAR125,000.
On the line in the exciting eSports competition was a prize pot of up to SAR1million, $250,000, held in the Allianz E Village, just one of the attractions surrounding the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site.
The event was supported by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic & Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS).
Dale Buxton, EGaming Consultant to Formula E, said: "The response to this competition has been huge, thousands flocked to enter and the standard has been so high. It shows the passion that exists for eSports within the Kingdom and we are grateful for the support of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic & Intellectual Sports."

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

Updated 42 min 13 sec ago

Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

  • The ban was imposed in wake of Nipah virus outbreak last May 
  • With mango season around the corner, Kerala exporters hope the Kingdom will allow imports again

NEW DELHI: Indian exporters have urged the government to ask Saudi Arabia to lift the importation ban on fruits and vegetables from the southern state of Kerala.

The outbreak of a deadly virus in certain parts of Kerala in May last year forced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to ban imports of horticultural products from the state. 

Most GCC countries have lifted the ban thereafter.

“We are losing more than $1,000 per day as a result of the ban,” says P.E. Ashraf Ali of Pomona Exports, a Kerala-based export company that has been sending fruits and vegetables to Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years.

“We are now sending our products to other south Indian cities, like Coimbatore and Bangalore, and this entails extra costs for us and has significantly reduced our profit margin,” Ali told Arab News.  

Around 20 exporters in Kerala export horticulture products to GCC countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the major markets for us in the Gulf region,” said Ali. “Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah are three major airports to which we send our products.” 

V.S. Sunil Kumar, Kerala's agriculture minister, called it “a serious issue.”

He said: “I have already sent two letters to the union government in New Delhi to talk to Saudi Arabia and sort out the matter. New Delhi should reassure them and request them to lift the ban.”

Kumar, who is also a minister in the communist government in the southern state, reiterated the importance of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Kerala and the Kingdom have shared close trade and cultural ties for centuries,” he told Arab News. “I understand the central government has already taken up the issue with authorities in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi should take more proactive steps to address the concerns of exporters in Kerala.”

V Venugopal, president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier trade body in Kerala, called for inter-governmental discussion between India and Saudi Arabia to sort out this issue.

“The Kerala government has taken very effective steps to control the Nipah virus,” he said. “If exports do not resume soon, the fruit and vegetable market will be very badly impacted. These are very perishable items that cannot be stored. The Indian government should convince Riyadh that Nipah was a small incident that happened more than seven months ago.”

He said that mangoes from Kerala are among the most popular in Saudi Arabia and that many people from Kerala living in Saudi Arabia are expecting the fruit. 

“This is not only a loss for local farmers, but for people in the country,” he said.

Arab News approached the Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on this issue, but received no comment.