JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) has managed to deliver tremendous achievements during 2020, despite the challenges the sports world has endured amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This year witnessed many activities, events and achievements of the SAOC led by its president, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, marking some truly magnificent memories that will last forever in the hearts and minds of the Saudi Olympic family.
From the national football team qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games for the first time since Atlanta 1996, to launching the first-ever National Games, to the election of Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud as an IOC member and the selection of Riyadh to host the 22nd Asian Games 2034, the year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most memorable in the history of Olympism for Saudi Arabia in the time of the pandemic.
Here are the highlights:
The Saudi Olympic football team qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, after an absence of nearly 24 years.
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, hosted a reception to celebrate the Green Falcons’ qualification for the Olympics football event, a feat the under-23 national team achieved during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and Atlanta Games 1996.
The largest sporting event in the history of Saudi sports, the “Saudi Games” was to be held for the first time in history, in addition to the qualification of table tennis player Ali Alkhadrawi to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Saudi Games was postponed until further notice, based on the committee’s recommendations concerning developments in the spread of coronavirus.
SAOC activated a full e-Work from Home System through multiple services for all its employees, athletes and sport federations as a measure to protect the health and safety of all members of the sport sector.
SAOC launched the “Train at Home” campaign as part of its endeavors and efforts in line with precautionary measures to confront coronavirus. The campaign witnessed significant interaction between Saudi sports stars, professionals, sports media and the Olympic Committee, which succeeded in motivating even non-athletes to practice sports and stay at home.
The month of April, which coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, witnessed the launch of the SAOC distinguished event The Olympic Question, which saw several prominent sports figures posing a question directed to athletes and the public. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and Prince Nawaf Bin Faisal, as well as former president of the Saudi Football Association Ahmed Eid, took part in the event.
The launch of the Athletes Session program, which included several episodes hosting prominent Saudi athletes, featured sports stars discussing their distinctive experiences, shedding light on the path that must be followed in order to reach the summit.
In a unique event, SAOC celebrated Olympic Day remotely, recalling the three Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence in all segments of society.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee, a new achievement for Saudi women in sports.
The Saudi International Athletes Forum, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, took place. It featured discussions on international sports organizations and the affairs of athletes during and after their retirement.
The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee celebrated Saudi National Day by honoring a group of athletes who served on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The SAOC head officially launched the Bid Book for Riyadh’s candidacy to host the 2030 Asian Games.
The Saudi Olympic Committee and Saudi Secretariat of the G20 co-organized the G20 NOCs Conference. The conference saw IOC President Thomas Bach take part as an honorary chair, together with the general director of the WHO and many international sporting bodies to showcase the value that sports can add to post-pandemic recovery plans.
SAOC organized the first conference of Gender Equity and Women Leadership in partnership with the International Taekwondo Federation. In attendance at the virtual conference, besides Prince Abdul Aziz, were Bach and World Taekwondo chief Chungwon Choue.
The General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia awarded Riyadh the right to host the 2034 Asian Games.