People of Al-Wajh look to Dakar rally to put city on map

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General view of a Team Overdrive Toyota vehicle in action during stage one. (Reuters)
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General view of a Team Overdrive Toyota vehicle in action during stage one. (Reuters)
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Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Cooper Tires, driven by China's Wei Han and Min Liao in action during stage one . (Reuters)
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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Updated 07 January 2020

People of Al-Wajh look to Dakar rally to put city on map

  • Residents hope for boost in terms of investment, tourism

Al-WAJH: Residents of Al-Wajh are hopeful that the Dakar Rally 2020, which began on Sunday, will attract investors to the coastal Saudi city.

Some residents have expressed delight at seeing big names of the annual sporting event in their city.

Receptionist Talal Al-Aradi said he has started to see new guests coming to Al-Wajh and asking about the rally.

“It’s apparent that this international event has given our small city the attention it deserves. Many Saudis may know little about Al-Wajh, but with the rally going through it, it will become famous enough and it will be a tourist destination,” he told Arab News.

Abdullah Al-Balawi, who has just returned to his city after finishing an English-language course in the UK, said he is optimistic that Al-Wajh will soon be an important destination on the Saudi tourism map.

“The annual long-distance off-road racing event will for sure add a lot to Saudi Arabia. It will shed light on the country’s most beautiful places, beginning from Jeddah to the finishing line at Qiddiya. The people of Al-Wajh are so lucky that their city is part of this big sports event,” he told Arab News.

Sultan Al-Maslamani, a chemistry student at Tabuk University who is spending his vacation with his family in Al-Wajh, said he is excited to see international motorists going through his place of birth, which many of his friends have heard little about.

“Like many of my friends, I don’t have a full idea about the rules of the race and the categories of the vehicles. However, the people here have started to talk about the event and the motorists taking part in it,” he told Arab News.

“The name of the Saudi driver, Yazeed Al-Rajhi, who we wish good luck, has become more popular than ever.”

Al-Maslamani said the young people of Al-Wajh are ambitious, and this event may inspire some of them to become famous rally drivers. 

But he expressed hope that seeing the competitors driving aggressively will not negatively affect young drivers on the city’s streets.

“They have to understand that safety is a priority to the rally drivers, who’ve been professionally trained on such off-road activities,” he said.

“Moreover, these professional motorists are using trucks or motorbikes that are purpose-built and heavily modified to meet the toughest driving conditions on inhospitable terrain.”

The rally began in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya on Jan. 17. In the past year, Saudi Arabia has increasingly opened its doors to international tourism and world-class sports and entertainment events, as part of its efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.


Third Saudi aid plane arrives in Beirut

KSRelief aircraft contains medical supplies, ventilators and other relief goods for blast victims. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 August 2020

Third Saudi aid plane arrives in Beirut

  • KSRelief teams are also active in treating blast victims

RIYADH: A third King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) plane loaded with aid arrived in Beirut on Saturday as part of a relief air bridge that was set up to help the people in wake of the Beirut blasts.

The air bridge was established on the directives of King Salman to provide urgent humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
KSRelief Adviser Dr. Ali bin Hamed Al-Ghamdi said the third plane is loaded with ventilators, hospital and medical equipment, as well as various medicines and disinfectants. It also contains food, tents, mattresses, blankets and cooking supplies.
So far, 200 tons of aid from the Kingdom have been flown to Lebanon with specialized teams to follow up and supervise the distribution operations.
KSRelief teams are also active in Lebanon in treating victims of the blast.
Earlier, two Saudi aircraft carrying more than 120 tons of medicines, equipment, and emergency supplies were dispatched to Beirut.
KSRelief Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said in a statement that the assistance highlights the pivotal role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in providing humanitarian assistance to all people in need around the world with complete impartiality.

The Saudi aid will help alleviate the sufferings of Lebanese people.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Khair, Chief of the High Relief, Commission in Lebanon

The twin blasts devastated large areas of the Lebanese capital and destroyed vital infrastructure, including grain storage silos and port facilities.
Lebanon, already reeling from an economic and currency collapse, now faces the threat of food shortages and a major hit to exports and imports.
Countries around the world have rushed to help Lebanon in the wake of the port explosion on Aug. 4.
The secretary-general of the High Relief Commission in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Khair, thanked the Kingdom for the urgent humanitarian aid provided through KSRelief.
In a press statement, he praised the historical relations between the two countries, noting the Saudi aid will help alleviate the suffering of Lebanese people.
Residents in the Kingdom can also help Lebanon by making donations through KSRelief’s website.