Saudi WWE superstar happy to be home

Mansoor Al-Shehail enjoying quality time with his family in Riyadh. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 12 September 2019
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Saudi WWE superstar happy to be home

  • Al-Shehail: “There’s always so much to catch up on and experience”
  • “I was really moved when I saw him winning,” says Al-Shehail’s father

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Mansoor Al-Shehail, who was crowned the winner of the largest Battle Royal in WWE history, is very happy to be home in his country and with his family during his regional visit.

He lives in the US and is under contract with the WWE for its NXT brand.

Al-Shehail, who was in Riyadh to visit his family, school and old stomping grounds, told Arab News he was very excited to go back to his old school — the American International School in Riyadh.

“We stopped by some of the places that I went to as a child. I think the Diplomatic Quarter was very surreal — I was as a child there — to relive those memories and experiences. It’s wonderful to come back to my family and to see the places that I knew as a child,” said Al-Shehail.

The first WWE superstar from the Kingdom said anytime he could see his family was wonderful for him. “There’s always so much to catch up on and experience with them, we can just eat and talk and it’s nice.

“Seeing the places I went to as a kid, playing on the playgrounds, reliving the moments of being with my friends, it’s always amazing for me because it reconnects me with where I came from. So, it was very enlightening and very fun,” he added.

Al-Shehail recalled the moment he won the largest Battle Royal in WWE history, describing it as a moment he will never forget. 

“It was amazing because my family were there in the front row. For them to see that so close was wonderful. I jumped into the arms of my brother and my father. They raised my arms and they have that on video which is amazing. It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

Another part of Al-Shehail’s trip was speaking to students at his old school about his experiences. Prior to his historic victory, Al-Shehail said that his father was unconvinced and wanted him to become a doctor.

His father told Arab News: “I really didn’t expect him to be a wrestler, I was really moved when I saw him winning. Everybody really cheered — children, men, and women. Everybody cheered for him. He won for the Saudis and all the audience were really enthusiastic.”


Iran suspended from world judo over Israel boycott policy

Updated 18 September 2019

Iran suspended from world judo over Israel boycott policy

  • Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes
  • Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officials to lose matches or withdraw from competitions

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Iran has been suspended from international judo competitions because it boycotts bouts with Israeli athletes.
Less than a month after world champion Saeid Mollaei walked off the Iranian team in protest at the boycott policy, the International Judo Federation said Wednesday that Iran is suspended ahead of a full hearing.
Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes and breaking rules over manipulating competition results.
“The IJF Executive Committee considered that such a conduct is intolerable,” the federation said.
Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officials to lose matches or withdraw from competitions, including last month’s world championships, so as not to face Israelis. He is currently in hiding in Germany.
Iran does not recognize Israel as a country, and Iranian sports teams have for several decades had a policy of not competing against Israelis.
It’s not yet clear if the IJF will seek to stop Iran competing in the 2020 Olympic judo events. Meanwhile, the IJF is exploring ways to allow Mollaei to compete on the International Olympic Committee’s team of refugees.
The IOC has signaled a harder line on boycotts in recent years.
In June, IOC president Thomas Bach criticized governments who “clearly abuse sport for their political purposes,” noting a case in May of a Tunisian court blocking four Israelis from competing at the taekwondo junior world championships.