Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship

The tournament drew 2,480 participants on Saturday. (AN photo by Ahmed Fathi)
Updated 28 October 2018

Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship

  • The winning team were given SR1 million ($0.26 million), the second SR500,000, the third SR300,000, and the fourth SR200,000

RIYADH: The Kingdom's second Baloot championship, sponsored by the General Sport Authority, ends today at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Olympic Stadium.
The 12-day tournament has had 2,480 participants, selected from a random lottery system, and more than 140,000 registered. The participants were of different generations and from different parts of the Kingdom, all united by their love for the popular Saudi card game.
Abdulkarim Al-Shiha, one of the supervisors on the judging committee, told Arab News that it had been a triumph in organization to get all players to play under one system as the rules are slightly different from region to region, and even from household to household.
He said the tournament was not short of excitement and sometimes the results were one-sided when participants lost without scoring any points. "There were times that I encountered when a participant refused to play because when he sat down at the table he found he would be playing against his uncle and would have to forfeit out of respect for his elder,” Al-Shiha said, adding that there was a father-and-son team who played well but came short and were eliminated.
The winning team were given SR1 million ($0.26 million), the second SR500,000, the third SR300,000, and the fourth SR200,000.
Baloot is believed to have been brought to Hijaz by Indian immigrants at the time of the Ottoman Empire, and then spread all over the country when it was unified under the Saudi rule.


Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.