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. 


Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

Updated 18 min 4 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia plays host to major Indonesian tourism campaign

  • More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year
  • Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty

JEDDAH: Tourism chiefs have been taking part in a major five-day Saudi campaign to help promote Indonesia as a top international holiday destination.
More than 165,000 Saudis visited the Southeast Asian country in 2018, and officials there are aiming to increase that number to 200,000 as part of a global visitor target of 20 million for this year.
From Feb. 11-15, the Indonesian Tourism Ministry has been working with its Consulate General in Jeddah to run a series of events in the Kingdom in a bid to boost the country’s tourist attractions.
Seventeen agencies representing Indonesia’s hotel, airline and travel industries participated in a business get-together with local Saudi tour operators, and around 70 prominent media figures were invited to the Pullman Hotel in Jeddah for a day of briefings on key Indonesian visitor destinations.
The last three days of the promotional program saw the Tourism Ministry and officials from top local destinations, take part in the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX), held at the Hilton Hotel.
Indonesia was one of the main sponsors of the event which has now been running for nine years.
Mohamad Hery Saripudin, the consul-general of Indonesia in Jeddah, said numerous innovative promotional breakthroughs had been made toward attracting more Saudi tourists to his country.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 17,000 islands famed for their beaches, wildlife and natural beauty.
Garuda, the national airline of Indonesia, has helped with the running of familiarization trips for journalists to several tourist hotspots, and other initiatives have seen free Indonesian language courses being offered to Saudis and expatriates.
R. Sigit Witjaksono, the director of tourism marketing for South and Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said Indonesia aimed to play host to 20 million visitors from throughout the world during 2019.
He noted that Indonesia welcomed 165,862 Saudi visitors in 2018, the highest total of any country in the Middle East.
As well as its natural delights, Indonesia is Islam-friendly, having thousands of mosques and offering products which are Shariah-compliant.