WWE champion Kofi Kingston grateful for Saudi welcome

Kofi Kingston
Updated 07 June 2019

WWE champion Kofi Kingston grateful for Saudi welcome

  • Kingston told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is one of his favorite places to tour

RIYADH: Reigning World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion Kofi Kingston believes that what makes touring different during his time as champion is the opportunity to travel the world and perform live as a way of saying thank you to his fans. 

He said that without the WWE Universe supporting him this year his championship run would not have happened. “They demanded that it happen and we ran with it and here I am a WWE champion,” Kingston said.

Kingston told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is one of his favorite places to tour. He said it was great to perform in front of people who helped him to his position — the fans in Saudi Arabia and throughout the world who have been part of his push this year as a WWE superstar.

“I can’t wait to go to Saudi — the energy there is off the charts. Every time we go people are so excited to see us, the events are second to WrestleMania with all the fanfare and pyro. It’s an awesome time for us as performers to be part of that positive energy,” he said.

Kingston was the first WWE superstar to visit Saudi Arabia in 2014 to promote the first non-televised WWE live shows in the Kingdom. 

Kingston fondly remembers how people welcomed him and were so friendly. 

“Honestly, it was one of the favorite parts of my career. I remember I was at a coffee shop with some local youths and we got to just sit around and talk. We talked about their dreams, their aspirations, and things they wanted to see — and one of the things they wanted to see was WWE performing live in Saudi,” he said. 

The WWE champion said that these were kids who had a big dream. Fast forward years later and the WWE has had multiple successful shows.

“I am sure that those same kids were part of the crowd in some of these shows so to be part of somebody’s dream ... hope and the completion of that dream is awesome. It is an amazing feeling and it is powerful to have impacted somebody’s life in a positive way. To me that’s what it’s all about and that’s why I love coming to Saudi,” he said.

Kingston, who made his WWE debut in 2008, is set to make his second pay-per-view title defense against former two-time champion Dolph Ziggler at Jeddah’s WWE Super ShowDown. 

He is one of the longest-reigning members of the WWE locker room who has just seen his career culminate at the “showcase of the immortals” 35th annual WrestleMania, where he won his first WWE championship in his career. 

Kingston holds the record for most days as Tag Team Champion within the WWE and is also known for his innovative ways of suspending his elimination from Royal Rumble and battle royal matches.

Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

Updated 19 January 2020

Amaala lift champion trophy in Saudi Arabia’s first-ever desert polo tournament

  • Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions

JEDDAH: Renowned Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras scored all his side’s goals as Amaala hammered out an emphatic 7-3 victory over host team AlUla to win the Kingdom’s first-ever desert polo tournament on Saturday at AlUla UNESCO heritage site.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki bin Faisal, chairman of the General Sports Authority, presented the trophy to Amaala after the final.

The event forms part of Winter at Tantora festival, featuring international polo players, who had the experience of playing on compacted desert sand instead of grass amid the stunning surroundings at AlUla.

The Royal Commission of AlUla organized the three-day tournament in cooperation with the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.

In winning the tournament, Amaala earned the bragging rights as the 2020, and inaugural, AlUla Desert Polo champions.

Players from all over the world took part, including team members from the world famous La Dolfina polo outfit from Argentina, including Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling and Pablo Mac Donough.

In the match for third place, Al Nahla Bentley defeated Team Richard Mille 4-2 with Sheikha Alya Maktoum scoring a hat trick of goals.

Figueras said: “It’s an amazing place with an amazing history, an amazing heritage and an amazing first tournament for the Saudi Polo Federation. I’m very honored to be here and I’m delighted that we were able to win.

“This country is going through a transformation and there are amazing years to come.”

Mac Donough added: “For us it was a completely new place; polo-wise Saudi Arabia wasn’t something we were doing before. Having the chance to come to such an amazing country and having the chance to play a tournament and promote the sport, all this makes us feel very proud and we hope we can continue it.”

Saudi Polo Federation chairman, Amr F. Zedan, who played for Team Richard Mille during the tournament, said: “I see this event as a launching pad for the future. We have big plans for polo in Saudi Arabia that include the establishment of development programs and the construction of facilities to assist in building a polo infrastructure in The Kingdom.”

Amr Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission of AlUla, said: “Our tourism strategy for AlUla has been built around certain anchors — heritage, culture, nature and arts. Equestrianism has always been a key industry for us, and the surroundings here make AlUla one of the best locations to ride horses.”