Saudi basketball team takes diplomatic approach to sport

Ready, set, go: Lina Al-Maeena with Ambassador Dominique Mineur of Belguim. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 07 February 2019
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Saudi basketball team takes diplomatic approach to sport

  • The new sports project was launched in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter by co-founder of Riyadh United Basketball team Lina Al-Maeena together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur.

RIYADH: A Saudi basketball team has netted a sporting entente cordiale with the capital’s diplomatic community.

Riyadh United players are to take part in a unique initiative aimed at encouraging more men and women in the Kingdom to participate in sport, while also strengthening international relations.

The new sports project was launched in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter by co-founder of Riyadh United Basketball team Lina Al-Maeena together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur.

Al-Maeena said the idea behind the scheme was to promote the message of peace and understanding between nations through sport, with regular basketball games between the Saudi diplomatic community and Riyadh teams.

“We believe in the language of sport,” she said. “This initiative allows us to link with the international community in Saudi Arabia while also doing something healthy and beneficial for our minds, bodies, and our country.”

Mineur said: “Sport is essential for the well-being of everyone and I hope that this will generate similar initiatives.”

Al-Maeena hopes that more Saudi women will take up sport and help promote the message of peace.

She pointed to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan as playing a key role in encouraging people to engage in sport. The country aims to increase the population’s sports participation from 13 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

“I believe that this initiative will blossom and flourish in a way we never anticipated,” Al-Maeena added. 

The launch was held on the basketball courts at King Faisal School, which has joined in the venture. 

Principal of the girls’ school Sadeem Al-Qadi said they were looking forward to playing an active role in the program. 

Vision 2030 has already brought about many changes in Saudi culture, including sport for women. Only recently, physical education was reintroduced for girls in Saudi schools after a long absence. 


Youth pillars of reform plan, future of Saudi Arabia

Updated 17 min 46 sec ago
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Youth pillars of reform plan, future of Saudi Arabia

  • A survey last year showed that 92 percent of young Saudis interviewed expressed a positive view of the outcome of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030

RIYADH: Young people in Saudi Arabia are the pillars of the country’s reform plan and the future of the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal as saying.
The prince said that 70 percent of the country’s population were aged between 15 and 35, and that young people and sports were two key elements of the Vision 2030 reform plan.
“We rely heavily on the programs offered by the state in various fields of sports, the arts and entertainment for young men and women, and I hope that we always offer the best to Saudi Arabia, the Arab world and the Islamic world.”
The prince was in Cairo, attending a meeting of the Council of Arab Ministers of Youth and Sports. He said in a press statement that the Kingdom put forward many proposals throughout the year and that ministries responded positively to youth activities. 
“The Kingdom has responded positively to many of the resolutions recommended during the meeting,” he said, adding that he hoped Arab youths would benefit from the outcome of these recommendations and meetings.
SPA reported last week that young Saudis were being trained to deal with the international media as part of a project to promote the Kingdom around the world.
A survey last year showed that 92 percent of young Saudis interviewed expressed a positive view of the outcome of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030.