Saudi riders with Olympic dreams to compete in Diriyah

The six-day event will see Saudi Arabia’s leading equestrian and show-jumping athletes compete for their place among the world’s top international riders. (Supplied)
Updated 16 October 2019

Saudi riders with Olympic dreams to compete in Diriyah

  • The event will see top international riders compete in Al-Diriyah
  • New Saudi tourism visas will allow equestrian fans to attend the competition

Saudi Arabia’s national team is set to compete at the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, which will be held northwest of Riyadh in the UNESCO protected area of Al-Diriyah.

The competition will be held between Dec. 12 and 14 and again on from Dec. 19 to 21 at the Al-Duhami Farm, the General Sports Authority announced on Wednesday.

The six-day event will see Saudi Arabia’s leading equestrian and show-jumping athletes compete for their place among the world’s top international riders.

Points scored during the competition will count towards qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

This event is part of the month-long Diriyah Season, a festival of sport, entertainment and cultural events.

Saudi Arabia’s Olympic medallist Ramzy Al-Duhami will be the host of the festival.

“We are hoping to raise the show-jumping circuit in the Kingdom to an international elite standard,” Al-Duhami said.

He added: “Organizing an international World Cup Event in Saudi Arabia for future generations is a privilege. Riding on your home ground is an honor. I am looking forward to the future of our sport at this standard.”

Authorities hope to see international fans attend the competition following the recent announcement of the new tourist visas for the Kingdom. At least 49 countries can now secure fast tourist visas online to attend the festival.


Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

Updated 18 November 2019

Saudi bowlers off to QubicaAMF World Cup

  • First woman from the Kingdom to compete in the championship in Indonesia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is sending its first woman to compete in the 55th QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup that begins in Indonesia.

Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.

Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating in the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating in the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The men’s competition started Sunday at 9 p.m.

The women’s competition will begin at 3 p.m. today, where Mashael will take part in six rounds. The competition will run until Nov. 24.

HIGHLIGHT

  • Mashael Alabdulwahid will join her male teammate Abdulrahman Al-Khilaiwi, under the supervision of coach, Mario Joseph, to take part in the contest in Palembang.
  • Both players underwent training at a camp in Riyadh to prepare for the event. The training program included participating at the Asian Championship in Kuwait for Abdulrahman, and participating at the GCC 6th women’s bowling tournament for Mashael.

The competition continues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and after completing 24 rounds, the top 24 players will be selected to compete for the top eight positions by playing eight runs on Friday. On Saturday, the best four female players and four male players will be chosen to compete in the finals.

Abdulrahman said that he is looking forward to the world cup. “This year there is a new advantage and that is having teammate Mashael joining me for the first time. I’m proud of her! It’s a big thing for Saudi women and for us in the team because this world exposure will help them to learn and give them an incentive to develop their skills,” he said.

The 20-year-old player has been bowling for the past 10 years. Despite his young age, thanks to his perseverance and sense of discipline he managed to win many victories, but the most distinguished were those in 2018. He delivered the bronze medal at the World Cup in Detroit, and two bronzes at the Asian Bowling Championship in the Philippines in the same year, and a gold medal for the trio event at the Arab Bowling Championship in Oman.

Mashael, 32, was only able to play officially last year in February 2018 when the Saudi Bowling Federation (SBF) received the decree to allow women to play in sports. However, she has been playing for fun since early childhood when she used to travel to Egypt with her family and where she managed to learn from the professionals and get hooked on the game. Mashael was chosen to take part in the Egypt Arab Championship and World Bowling Women’s Championship in Las Vegas in August 2018.

Mashael said: “Playing for fun is definitely enjoyable but when you wear your country’s flag that’s a huge responsibility put on your shoulder. You become an ambassador and a role model and when I’m put in that situation, I definitely want to give my all to be fit for that honor, and give the best image worthy of our beloved country.”

The bowlers expressed their gratitude to the Saudi Bowling Federation and its president Bader bin Abdullah Al-Alsheikh for his support and for creating opportunities for them so that they can progress, enrich their experiences and win awards and achievements.