Dakar Rally to kick off in Asia for first time in history

The route for the Dakar Rally will pass through NEOM, the Red Sea Project and Qiddiya. (SPA)
Updated 09 September 2019

Dakar Rally to kick off in Asia for first time in history

  • The race will begin in Jeddah on Jan. 5

RIYADH: The world is waiting for the Kingdom to host the Dakar Rally 2020, one of the world’s most difficult and most famous desert rallies. Registration is now open for the historic event, which will be held for the first time in Asia after a 30-year domination by Africa and South America.

The race will begin in Jeddah on Jan. 5, from where contestants will travel thousands of kilometers in 10 stages in cars and on motor bikes modified to cope with thisgreat challenge.

Contestants will be passing through cities rich in history and aspiring projects such as NEOM, the Red Sea Project and Qiddiya. They will go along the Red Sea and then head inland to face the challenges of the high sand dunes, passing through the Red Sea Project, the aspiring tourism project which embraces 90 unspoiled islands as well as mountainous and desert areas and will offer a unforgettable experience to visitors.

Competitors  will head toward NEOM, 26,500-square-kilometer futuristic city located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, with a waterfront stretching over 460 kilometers.

The competition will move forward to Riyadh, the Saudi capital embracing big companies and brands. They competitors will rest there for a day before heading to ​​Qiddiya, the heart of futuristic entertainment, with more than 300 entertainment and
cultural facilities.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the chairman of KSA’s General Sports Authority, said: “The agreement to host the Dakar Rally, which has been known as the world’s toughest race for many years, is a way to introduce to the world Saudi’s stunning scenery, vibrant cities and immense desert, whose dunes interlace with the sea. The world will get a chance to learn about the Kingdom’s rich history, get to know its good and hospitable people and witness its qualitative transformation.”

Prince Abdul Aziz added: “The Dakar Rally will channel the true image of Saudi Arabia to the world, at all levels: sports, entertainment, culture, heritage and tourism, in addition to promoting its ability to compete with the world’s most powerful countries in organizing international events, as a message of openness and love to the entire world.” 

Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “Participants in the Dakar Rally 2020 will face great mental and physical challenges throughout their route. They will be facing the towering sand dunes while enjoying stunning scenery at the same time. They will also get the chance to admire the unique breathtaking golden dunes of the Empty Quarter desert (Al-Rub Al-Khali).”

He continued: “For this event to be a global success, we joined forces with the Red Crescent, the Civil Defense, the security forces, the municipalities of the cities through which the race passes, and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.”

Ukraine qualify for Euro 2020 despite Ronaldo's 700th goal

Updated 15 October 2019

Ukraine qualify for Euro 2020 despite Ronaldo's 700th goal

  • Ukraine held on to secure first place in Group

KIEV: Ukraine beat Portugal 2-1 on Monday to clinch a place at Euro 2020 despite Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his 700th career goal.
Roman Yaremchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko put Ukraine two goals up after 27 minutes.
Although Ronaldo scored his landmark goal from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute and Taras Stepanenko was sent off, Ukraine held on to secure first place in Group B.
Ukraine join already qualified Poland, Russia, Italy and Belgium at next summer's finals, while second-placed Portugal, who are eight points behind Ukraine, have Serbia just a point behind them with two matches remaning after they beat Lithuania 2-1.
"There are days like these, when the ball just doesn't want to go in," said Portuguese midfielder Danilo. "No need to do the maths now: we just need to win the next two games to reach Euro 2020."
Yaremchuk pounced from close range in the sixth minute. The centre forward reacted fastest after Rui Patricio dived to parry Serhiy Kryvtsov's header from a corner, and poke the ball across the line.
Yarmolenko added the second when outpaced the Portuguese defence to finish a swift counter attack with a low, crisp first-time shot.
Portugal dominated the second half and finally achieved a breakthrough when Stepanenko blocked a shot with his arm, receiving his marching orders before Ronaldo blasted home the penalty to make it 700 goals for club and country.
The goal was his 95th for Portugal. The 34-year-old is now just 14 goals behind the all-time international record of 109 held by former Iran striker Ali Daei.
While the exact number of goals scored by some of the game's legends is the subject of debate, Ronaldo is agreed to be the sixth player to reach 700 after Austrian Josef Bican, Brazilians Romario and Pele, Hungarian Ferenc Puskas and German Gerd Muller.