There is a big appetite for change, says Saudi sports authority chief

GSA Chairman Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal speaks at the Future Investment Forum in Riyadh. (AN photo)
Updated 01 November 2019

There is a big appetite for change, says Saudi sports authority chief

 

RIYADH:  Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) has a venerable heritage dating back to 1974 — and it has come a long way since then.

In the past, the sports authority was heavily focused on Saudi football, but recently that has taken a swift turn and more activities have been added.

“We have two mandates in the 2030 vision. One is to increase participation in sport and the other is to achieve excellence within the sports we choose, and they both have to work parallel to each other. You can’t get one without the other,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the GSA’s board of directors.

“By that, we mean we are empowering federations to do more competitions and activities and to promote different kinds of sport in the Kingdom.

“I know in the past there was a focus on football but now by hosting these events we are actually showing the youth that there are other sports and how to learn from it and grow,” the prince added.

He said that one of the most remarkable changes he had seen in Saudi Arabia was the awareness that came with sports. “It’s the awareness of the community, of the people. They are aware of how important sport is, as well as being active.”

The Kingdom had a high level of obesity and type 2 diabetes which were often directly linked to a lack of exercise, but more people being active and participating in sport would help drive those figures down, Prince Abdul Aziz said.

In 2015, only 13 percent of Saudis took part in half-an-hour of sport, but the GSA aims to significantly increase that figure over the coming years.

Prince Abdul Aziz said there was “a big appetite toward that change. We are changing the country.”

But there were still gaps to be filled. “The gaps are the know-how, the experience, and train the trainer programs,” he added.

By hosting events the GSA aimed to raise awareness about the country’s sporting ambitions and the opportunities for individuals to take part in achieving the goals.

From a financial perspective, the sports sector contributed about 0.1 percent to GDP. The target was to make that 0.8 percent by 2030, said the prince. “That means that we are going to have 16 million people weekly active on a constant basis.”

The future of sport in the Kingdom involved “more infrastructure, more venues, more programs and more training,” he added.


Saudi bridge continues to aid stricken in Lebanon

KSRelief provided urgent food supplies to affected people living in the areas adjacent to the port, covering 500 families. (SPA)
Updated 10 August 2020

Saudi bridge continues to aid stricken in Lebanon

  • So far, 290 tons of aid transported to provide urgent humanitarian needs to people affected by explosion

JEDDAH: Aid continues to flow into the Lebanese capital Beirut, as the fourth Saudi air bridge plane operated by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) arrived on Sunday.
Ninety tons of emergency aid was flown in on the flight, including medical materials and equipment, foodstuff and shelter supplies. Medicines, burn treatments, medical solutions, masks, gloves, sterilizers and other surgical materials will be distributed by special teams on the ground.
The plane also carried food baskets that included flour and dates as well as shelter materials such as tents, blankets, mattresses, and utensils.
So far, 290 tons of aid has been transported from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon as per the directives of King Salman to provide urgent humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people affected by the explosion at the Port of Beirut.
This aid was provided based on an assessment report of the necessary humanitarian needs resulting from the explosion, in coordination with the Saudi Embassy in Beirut, and the KSRelief branch in Lebanon.
This comes as an extension of the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to show solidarity with the Lebanese people and to provide relief to those affected by the disaster.

FASTFACT

So far, 290 tons of aid has been transported from Saudi Arabia to Lebanon as per the directives of King Salman to provide urgent humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people affected by the explosion at the Port of Beirut.

KSRelief provided urgent food supplies to affected people living in the areas adjacent to the port on Sunday, covering 500 families.
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Waleed bin Abdullah Bukhari told Arab News that special committees would oversee and review reports on the Lebanese people’s needs.
“Aid will continue to flow into Lebanon after assessing the required needs of the Lebanese people in cooperation with the relevant authorities in Lebanon,” he said.
Countries around the world have come together to help Lebanon in the wake of the explosion on Aug. 4, which devastated large areas of Beirut, damaging and destroying infrastructure, buildings and homes, including all port facilities and the country’s grain storage silos.