Qatar and WHO team up for a healthy and safe FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar and WHO team up for a healthy and safe FIFA World Cup 2022
Football legend Didier Drogba delivers a speech after being appointed WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health in Geneva on Monday. (AP)
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Updated 18 October 2021

Qatar and WHO team up for a healthy and safe FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar and WHO team up for a healthy and safe FIFA World Cup 2022
  • The three-year joint project, titled “Healthy 2022 World Cup - Creating Legacy for Sport and Health,”
  • Ivory Coast great Didier Drogba was announced as a WHO goodwill ambassador to promote a healthier lifestyle

DUBAI: The World Health Organization (WHO) and Qatar launched a new multiyear collaboration on Monday to make Qatar World Cup 2022 a beacon for physical and mental health.
WHO and Qatar, working closely with FIFA, will undertake joint activities to place the promotion of healthy lives, health security and physical and mental well-being at the heart of world football’s pinnacle event, being held from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 next year.
The three-year joint project, titled “Healthy 2022 World Cup - Creating Legacy for Sport and Health,” was announced at WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.  
“WHO is committed to working with Qatar and FIFA to leverage the global power of football to help people lead the healthiest and safest lives possible,” WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghrebreyesus said.
In addition, another critical goal of the project is to set and translate the best practices in health promotion, security and safety, as practiced at the Qatar 2022, for use at major sporting events around the world.
Dr Hanan Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Public Health, said: “Our goal is also to hold the healthiest sporting event possible. It is for this reason we have teamed up with WHO.”
FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino praised the new partnership between Qatar and WHO, and said: “WHO’s new project with Qatar aligns perfectly with FIFA’s collaboration with both sides. Working together, we will harness the power of sports as a catalyst for a safer and healthier world.”
Ivory Coast great Didier Drogba was announced as a WHO goodwill ambassador to promote a healthier lifestyle.
“May we unite to be better prepared,” Drogba said, “and respond to future pandemics more collaboratively as we seek to tell the WHO narrative to global audiences in languages and platforms that are accessible to all.”


Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International

Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International
Updated 07 November 2021

Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International

Lydia Ko squares course record in Aramco Saudi Ladies International
  • Ko: “I played really solid today”

JEDDAH: A course record-equaling 63 from Lydia Ko has the New Zealander in firm control heading into the final day of the $1 million Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund.
The former World No. 1 carded five birdies on both the front and back nine at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club to lead by four with one round to play.
Sitting at -16, the 24 year old will look to hold off a final day push from Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, whose scintillating 65 propelled her into lone second.
England’s Alice Hewson sits two further back on -10, with Spaniards Carlota Ciganda and Nuria Iturrioz both on -9.
“I played really solid today,” said Ko, who tied Australian Steph Kyriacou’s record low round at Royal Greens. “I missed a short putt for par on three and then went on a stretch of birdies. I gave myself a lot of good looks for birdie opportunities and I was rolling it well, so it was a good combination of everything, where I wasn’t making many mistakes. It was that kind of a round where I just kept putting myself in position, trying to play the best golf I can.
“I’ve got to keep playing aggressively. This is a course where you’ve seen players can play well so I’m just trying to make my share out there and see what happens.”
Atthaya Thitikul — who looks set to be crowned the LET’s Race to the Costa del Sol champion after her low round on Saturday — said: “I feel pretty good about my round today. My putter was on fire. I’ll keep trying to roll in my putts tomorrow and keep making as many birdies as I can, staying focused.”
On her final day playing partner Lydia Ko, Thitikul added: “She is really solid. Her putter and short game is one of the best — she’s pretty good! I’ll learn from her tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
After an opening day 75, a resurgent Georgia Hall went three-under-par on Friday, before going a further three better on Saturday, placing her in a busy chasing pack, albeit 10 off the top.
Hall said: “Today I could’ve been nine-under if I’m honest. I missed quite a few putts under 10 foot. But my game was a lot better today and I’m very happy with how I played.
“I had three weeks off so maybe just getting back into tournament mode took me a little bit more time than I thought. No matter how much you practice, competitions always feel different, so it’s just been getting my swing back into a good place.”
American Alison Lee — whose compatriot and playing partner Lyndsey Weaver found the tournament’s second hole-in-one en route to a one-under-par 71 — sits one better at -7, herself bouncing back from a day one five-over-par 77 with rounds of 65 and 67.
Lee said: “I feel like I played pretty solid today. My strength today was my putting. Long birdie putts, shaky par putts coming back — it was my savior today.
“I was very disappointed after the first round.
I feel like I’ve been playing really well and that was just one of those days a golfer has in their back pocket once in a while, it just kind of happens. Thankfully I recovered yesterday and hopefully I can put a good number up tomorrow.”
The Aramco Saudi Ladies International will be followed by the Aramco Team Series — Jeddah on Nov. 10-12, the last of four new $1 million team tournaments added to the Ladies European Tour this season.


The end of the road for Bobby Lashley and Goldberg at the WWE Crown Jewel

The end of the road for Bobby Lashley and Goldberg at the WWE Crown Jewel
Updated 10 November 2021

The end of the road for Bobby Lashley and Goldberg at the WWE Crown Jewel

The end of the road for Bobby Lashley and Goldberg at the WWE Crown Jewel
  • The rivalry between Goldberg and Bobby Lashley has been brewing ever since they first met at SummerSlam

RIYADH/JEDDAH: Bill Goldberg will be looking for revenge when he goes head to head with Bobby Lashley in a “No Holds Barred” match headlining WWE Crown Jewel at Mohammed Abdo Arena in Riyadh on Thursday night.

Fueled by the images of his son unable to escape the clutches of Bobby Lashley at SummerSlam in August, passionate fans are flocking in to see the spectacle that is Goldberg who is on a mission of redemption, to finally settle the score and end his personal rivalry with Lashley. 

Earlier this year at SummerSlam, Lashley defeated Goldberg to retain the WWE Championship but the animosity between the two wrestlers spilled over post match when Lashley attacked Goldberg’s son, who had come to the aid of his defeated father.

Coming into the match in Riyadh, Goldberg revealed on the CarCast podcast that he is not 100 percent fit to compete as he is still recovering from a knee injury, but on Thursday morning he told Arab News that this will not stop him going after his rival in the ring.

“I’m at peace, because in a matter of hours I’m gonna get my hands around the throat of some guy who dared to touch my son. It’s a pretty simple equation,” Goldberg said. "If somebody goes after you family, they need to pay.”

Goldberg is accustomed to the atmosphere at the Crown Jewel, and this is his fourth visit to the Kingdom. After the disruptions of the pandemic saw many WWE events take place behind closed doors, he is delighted to be back performing in front of a live audience. 

“The feeling of the people, period, end of story,” he said. “It’s hard to go out and perform if nobody's watching in person, you don’t have the direct connection with the fan, you don’t have the immediate gratification of listening to them cheer or boo.”

“It’s like doing a match in your closet,” Goldberg added.

The success of Crown Jewel means it is now one of WWE’s marquee events and with this comes high expectations.

The rivalry between Goldberg and Bobby Lashley has been brewing ever since they first met at SummerSlam, and the unfinished business between the two looks set to be settled in front of a packed crowd in Riyadh.


Sports for All Federation and Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation launch new Softball Cricket Tournament to raise popularity of game

Sports for All Federation and Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation launch new Softball Cricket Tournament to raise popularity of game
Updated 05 September 2021

Sports for All Federation and Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation launch new Softball Cricket Tournament to raise popularity of game

Sports for All Federation and Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation launch new Softball Cricket Tournament to raise popularity of game
  • The tournament will host more than 5,000 players across the Kingdom’s 11 major cities and run for four months

RIYADH: Following the recently concluded National Cricket Championship 2021, the Saudi Sports for All Federation, in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation, has announced the launch of the Softball Cricket Tournament, beginning this week.

The tournament will run for four months and host more than 5,000 players across the Kingdom’s 11 major cities, from Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Makkah, Madinah, Neom, Jeddah, Taif, Al Ahsa, Yanbu and Tabuk.

“Cricket, one of the Kingdom’s most popular and inclusive team sports, also encourages friendly competition while building comradery. We saw all this and more with the wild success of the recently concluded National Cricket Championship,” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, president, Sports for All Federation.

The format of the Softball Cricket Tournament is T10, which means the teams will play one innings of 10 overs comprising six deliveries each. Soft ball cricket is a competitive if more relaxed form of game, and comes with a different set of rules compared to more established formats.

Softball cricket is played with a hard tennis and MRI ball, which drastically reduces the level of injuries. The batsmen are also not required to wear helmet, pads or guards.

“The ardent fervor of players and spectators alike around the championship motivated us to expand the sport into the broader community with a format that accommodates all, and welcomes beginner players of all abilities,” Prince Khaled said. “We’re pleased to partner with the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation to launch the upcoming Softball Cricket Tournament, and we’re looking forward to an exciting competition.”

The introduction of the National Softball Cricket Tournament follows the success of the National Cricket Championship 2021 — the largest cricket tournament in the history of Saudi Arabia. Staged across 11 cities, it was organized by the SACF, and supported by the Sports for All Federation and the Ministry of Sports as part of the Kingdom’s mission to promote a healthy and active lifestyle under the Vision 2030 Quality of Life program.

In 2019, a major softball cricket tournament was organized in 10 cities of the Kingdom under the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Labor and Social Development, and Quality of Life program. The tournament featured 12 regional associations, 213 teams and 4004 registered participants.

SACF Chairman Prince Saud bin Mishal welcomed the partnership with the SFA.

“The Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation is delighted to hold another mega cricket tournament in partnership with the SFA,” he said. “Cricket is one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports and we want to create activities and tournaments that will raise its profile and appeal to people of all ages and abilities.

“We always endeavor to create activities and tournaments to encourage residents to participate and adopt a healthy lifestyle that align with the Kingdom’s Vision2030,” Prince Saud said.

The tournament is one of the SFA’s initiatives to support the Quality of Life program mandated by Vision 2030. It calls for 40 percent more people to be taking regular exercise in the Kingdom by 2030.


Saudi squad heads to Oman in the third round of Asian Qualifiers for 2022 World Cup

Saudi squad heads to Oman in the third round of Asian Qualifiers for 2022 World Cup
Updated 05 September 2021

Saudi squad heads to Oman in the third round of Asian Qualifiers for 2022 World Cup

Saudi squad heads to Oman in the third round of Asian Qualifiers for 2022 World Cup
  • Herve Renard’s men beat Vietnam in their opening Group B fixture but will come against a team boosted by its defeat of Japan in Tokyo

Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard held an intensive training session in Riyadh on Saturday evening before his squad flies to Muscat today ahead of Tuesday’s Asian qualifier for the 2022 World Cup against Oman.

On Thursday the Frenchman watched his team come back from a goal down to beat 10-man Vietnam 3-1 in Riyadh. Earlier that day, Oman shocked the continent with an 1-0 away win against Japan, and they will be no pushover when the Gulf neighbours meet.

A win for Saudi Arabia would give the team a maximum six points from two matches ahead of next month’s double header of home matches against Japan (Oct. 7) and China (Oct. 12).


Slync.io becomes new title sponsor of Dubai Desert Classic from 2022

Slync.io becomes new title sponsor of Dubai Desert Classic from 2022
Updated 08 September 2021

Slync.io becomes new title sponsor of Dubai Desert Classic from 2022

Slync.io becomes new title sponsor of Dubai Desert Classic from 2022
  • Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic joins the European Tour’s Rolex Series next year, with the event taking place on Jan. 27-30

The European Tour has announced Slync.io as the new sponsor of the Dubai Desert Classic, with the iconic event becoming part of the Rolex Series for the first time in 2022.

The technology provider becomes the title sponsor of the event that has been played annually at the prestigious Emirates Golf Club for the past 32 years.

From 2022, the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic will be part of the Rolex Series, the European Tour’s premium category of events, with a prize fund of $8 million. It will take place from Jan. 27-30.

The Tour will now have back-to-back Rolex Series events in the Middle East in January with the tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai part of the traditional “Desert Swing.”

“This is a very exciting time for the Desert Classic as we welcome Slync.io as title partner. Slync’s status as a leading global logistics technology provider will help to bring innovative ideas to the tournament and ensure it continues to evolve and grow,” Simon Corkill, executive tournament director of Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic, said. “These changes will bring a host of benefits to Dubai and the tournament, in addition to offering our international fans enhanced coverage of the venue and players.”

“We look forward to working with Slync.io and the rest of our sponsors to deliver a world-class event during a pivotal year for Dubai, when all eyes will descend on the city during the UAE’s 50th anniversary celebrations and the landmark hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai,” he said.

The Dubai Desert Classic was the European Tour’s first event in the Middle East region in 1989, cementing the Tour’s relationship with Dubai and the UAE. That association has developed significantly in the intervening years, especially through the introduction in 2009 of the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai, which from 2022 will now feature three out of five Rolex Series events in the Middle East, with the back-to-back tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai at the start of the calendar year joined by the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai in November.

Chris Kirchner, founder, chairman and CEO of Slync.io, said: “We are excited to partner with the European Tour and Rolex on the Dubai Desert Classic. Dubai is one of the great cities and a key player in global logistics. This event will be a great place for us to kick off our year with our customers and enjoy some world-class golf.”

The Dubai Desert Classic, which celebrated its 32nd edition earlier this year, has been won by some of golf’s great names, including Major Champions Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Fred Couples, Jose Maria Olazabal, Mark O’Meara, Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau.

Also in the winners’ circle over the past 32 years have been Ryder Cup stars Mark James, the inaugural champion in 1989, Eamonn Darcy, Colin Montgomerie, David Howell, Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Stephen Gallacher and Paul Casey, the reigning champion.

“We are delighted to welcome Slync.io as the new title sponsor of the Dubai Desert Classic, elevating the tournament to a new level,” said Keith Pelley, the European Tour’s chief executive.

“Alongside the Genesis Scottish Open and the BMW PGA Championship, the three Rolex Series events in the Middle East mean our five premium tournaments in 2022 will be played at key times in the golfing calendar when the eyes of the world are on the European Tour,” he said.