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

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.


Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

Updated 10 December 2019

Startup of the Week: Wayakit, the biotech firm helping travelers beat odors and stains

  • Wayakit leaves the clothes clean and fresh again

JEDDAH: Wayakit is a biotechnology start-up incubated by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

KAUST Ph.D students Sandra Medina and Luisa Javier are avid travelers who have come up with a pocket-sized product that deals with both odors and stains on fabrics, leaving the cloths clean and fresh again.

Wayakit is also gentler on fabrics because traditional laundry eventually damages them, said Javier, who first moved to Saudi Arabia from Mexico ten years ago.

Her business partner, Sandra Medina, who came from Colombia to study at KAUST, explained to Arab News how Wayakit works. “You just spray the smelly area twice and you’re good to go. In the case of stains, you spray twice and then pat dry it with a tissue and it will disappear,” she said.

The idea for the product came during a trip for a conference two years ago when the travelers realized their luggage was lost “We had to present with our dirty, seven-hours’ flight clothes,” Javier told Arab News.

“We started looking into the possibility then, because there’s not a proper solution to doing laundry while traveling,” she said.

 

They decided they needed to come up with a product that was not pricey, was easy to carry, and did the job by removing stains and bad odors “on-the-go.”

 

 

The duo began by interviewing more than 100 travelers of 23 different nationalities to find out if this was a common issue that travelers struggled with.

 

“From the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, we learned the importance of listening first to the customers before designing any product,” said Medina. From these interviews, Wayakit team got the product requirements and then moved into the lab to start working on the formulation of Wayakit. “The amazing facilities and labs in KAUST helped us to speed up the creation of our first prototype. After this, the same KAUST community was the people who first tried Wayakit and gave us feedback. “In KAUST we do not only have state-of-the-art labs, but also a whole entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Medina added.

Wayakit is different from its competitors in that it contains no toxic chemicals, and covers a broader spectrum in covering stains — it is two products in one. It also contains anti-bacterial properties, acting as a sanitizer that “removes all the stains that occur on a day-to-day basis as well as being an odor remover,” Javier said.

The pair went for a biotechnology-based formula that excluded the usage of oxidizers and focused on more organic compounds. “Even the anti-bacterial properties are not toxic as we incorporated these in an environmentally friendly formulation,” she said.

The Wayakit founders had to rigorously test their product, dealing with different types of sweat and stains to perfect their spray. “We had to give testers to travelers to try it out and had to listen to their feedback, then went back to the lab to improve it, in order to make sure the product was as promised.”

Medina said KAUST’s mentorship had also helped their company to develop. “KAUST for us is a catalyst of entrepreneurship and has given us a lot of room to grow our start-up Wayakit,” she said.

KAUST helped Wayakit by giving the advice and support from the start. From entrepreneurial courses to teaching the concepts of building a brand, KAUST encouraged Wayakit to grow from a scientific outlook and helped the founders to better understand the customer.

“As foreigners, it was difficult for us to understand the logistics and procurement of shipping and importing here in Saudi Arabia. KAUST has helped us to face that hurdle in order to be able to reach all our clients in the MENA region and worldwide,” Medina said. “Beyond helping travellers, our mission is to change the way how laundry is commonly done. We found a way to effectively wash clothes reducing water and energy consumption,” Javier said. 

Wayakit has recently began selling in Jeddah’s Homegrown Market, chosen because it is “a Middle Eastern brand store with unique ambience,” said Medina.