Saudi Arabia to host F1 powerboat world championship opener

The Dammam Grand Prix has attracted 18 powerboat racers from 11 countries. (Supplied)
Updated 26 March 2019
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Saudi Arabia to host F1 powerboat world championship opener

  • The race, which features 18 drivers from 11 countries, will mark the end of the Eastern Province Season, the first of the recently launched “Saudi Seasons” tourism campaign

DAMMAM: The Kingdom will host the opening round of the UIM Formula 1 World Powerboat Championship (F1H2O) at the Dammam Corniche.
Considered one of the world’s most competitive, dangerous and thrilling sports championships, the event will begin next Thursday and run for three days, culminating with 20 of the world’s most famous powerboat racers competing for the grand prix on Saturday.
Hosted by countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the 2019 F1H2O circuits were officially unveiled at a press conference by the Union Internationale Motonautique (International Federation of Marine Sports) in Monaco on March 23, during which it was announced that Saudi Arabia will host the opening round, in the presence Prince Albert II of Monaco, world champion racers and senior F1H2O representatives.
The event will be held under the guidance of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, and in cooperation with the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation (SWSDF).
Dammam hosting the event is a result of the efforts by the General Sports Authority to bring sports activities to the Kingdom by hosting prominent international events to enhance the local sports sector. These efforts also aim to reinforce Saudi Arabia’s position as a leading sports destination in the Middle East, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
The race, which features 18 drivers from 11 countries, will mark the end of the Eastern Province Season, the first of the recently launched “Saudi Seasons” tourism campaign, which includes 11 tourist seasons spanning most of the Kingdom’s regions.
“The General Sports Authority is looking to significantly augment the local sports sector with various sports, leisure and tourism activities to boost its development and sustainability and key related sectors such as leisure and tourism, as well as strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a leading destination in the Middle East for the world’s largest events,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said.
“We value the partnership we have forged with the International Federation of Marine Sports, through which we seek to support the Kingdom’s drive to transform the sports sector from the traditional model to a competitive model that boasts attractive investment, entertainment and tourism opportunities by adopting the very highest international standards.”
Prince Sultan bin Fahd bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Water Sports and Diving Federation, said: “We are proud to host the F1 Powerboat World Championship and the 11 countries who are participating in the Dammam race. It will be the perfect culmination of the Eastern Province tourism season, the first of the recently launched Saudi Seasons initiative. Through these water sports, we aim to establish a new sports program of events and activities that will encourage more people to play sports and introduce these types of water sports to Saudi youth.”
Prince Sultan said that the event is expected to draw more 20,000 spectators from Saudi Arabia and abroad: “I take this opportunity to invite everyone to come and enjoy the event. I would also like to thank the event sponsors, and look forward to the results of the tremendous joint efforts between the various government bodies to provide a modern and unique experience for excitement and adventure seekers from Saudi Arabia and abroad.”
“Sports events hosted by Saudi Arabia in collaboration with global partners send a clear message that the Kingdom is opening its doors to the world and introducing it to its natural wonders and varied terrains, especially in the Eastern Province,” Prince Sultan said.
Former F1H20 President Nicolo di San Germano said: “We are delighted to start the 36th season of the UIM F1H2O World Championship in Dammam. I would like to thank the General Sports Authority, the SWSDF for their hard work and cooperation that has enabled us to extend our racing footprint in the Middle East and return to Saudi Arabia.”
“The championship and the sport of powerboat racing have a historic, highly successful and valued association with GCC countries which began in 1993, and we look forward to a renewed and long-lasting association of racing in Saudi Arabia,” di San Germano said.


Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

Updated 44 min 54 sec ago
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Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

  • The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday to discuss wider economic ties between the two countries, according to the presidential office.
The crown prince’s visit to South Korea is the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since then-Crown Prince Abdullah’s tour in 1998. The crown prince will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.
The two-day visit is expected to deliver key agreements with South Korea in a variety of industrial fields, including cooperation on nuclear reactor and defense technologies.
“Saudi Arabia, a key ally of South Korea, is the biggest oil supplier to our government and the largest economic partner among the Middle Eastern countries,” presidential spokeswoman Koh Min-jung told reporters.
“Both leaders are expected to discuss detailed measures to expand bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional areas of construction and energy to the sectors of information and technology, nuclear energy, green cars, health, public service and exchange of human resources.”
The crown prince and his economic advisers are scheduled to have luncheon with South Korean business leaders after his summit with President Moon, she said.
Business leaders attending the luncheon will include Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group.
A Samsung spokesman, who declined to be named, told Arab News that his company has a package of business proposals to present to Saudi Arabia.
“We’re not sure at the moment what business elements the Kingdom wants, but we have a variety of business packages that can meet the Saudi Vision 2030 requirements, ranging from engineering, procurement and construction to information and communications technology, and artificial intelligence,” the spokesman said.
Hyundai Motor Group was cautious about revealing potential business projects with Riyadh.
“We’ll see what’s happening. We have high expectations about potential business cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” a Hyundai Motor spokesman said, while asking not to be named.
The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda.
Team Korea, led by the Korea Electric Power Corp., was shortlisted last year for a nuclear power plant construction project in Saudi Arabia, along with the US, China, France and Russia. The project by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is aimed at building two nuclear power plants by 2030.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Different South Korean companies are reportedly keen to invest in Saudi Arabia and become part of Vision 2030’s success.

• The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility.

• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.

With Riyadh reportedly leaning toward the US bidder, Team Korea is considering forming a strategic consortium with the US side, according to government sources.
“The possibility of the Korea-US consortium for the Saudi project is a feasible option,” said Huh Min-ho, a researcher of Shinhan Invest Corp., referring to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the technical design of South Korea’s APR-1400 reactors.
“For South Korea, joining hands with the US is a feasible option to win the Saudi nuclear reactor contract, though the total order amount would be reduced,” the analyst said. “Once the Saudi project is won, more orders are expected to come from other countries such as the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland.”
South Korea already has a nuclear power footprint in in the Middle East after its construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. The country recently won a five-year maintenance deal for the nuclear plant with Nawah Energy Co., the operator of the plant.
The Saudi crown prince is also interested in South Korea’s weapons development technology, according to defense sources, and is scheduled to visit the Agency for Defense Development, South Korea’s only weapons developing agency, during his stay.
“We heard the crown prince is interested in the transfer of weapons technology when his country imports foreign weapons systems,” a Defense Ministry official told Arab News.
The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility. S-Oil, which is wholly owned by state-run Saudi Aramco, is third-largest oil refiner in South Korea.