Gamers8 opening to feature esports, fireworks and top music stars

Gamers8 opening to feature esports, fireworks and top music stars
Amr Diab will perform at the opening ceremony of Gamers8 in Riyadh. (SEF)
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Updated 27 June 2022

Gamers8 opening to feature esports, fireworks and top music stars

Gamers8 opening to feature esports, fireworks and top music stars
  • Amr Diab, J Balvin, Sebastian Ingrosso, Salvatore Ganacci and DJ Elfuego will take to the stage at Boulevard Riyadh City on Thursday, July 14, as Rocket League kicks off the esports action

RIYADH: Gamers8, the world’s biggest esports and gaming event, will launch in spectacular fashion in Riyadh on Thursday, July 14 with the first esports competition, a firework show, drone display and a host of music stars.

Hosted under the theme of “Gamers8 – Your Portal to the Next World” esports tournaments will take place this summer alongside some of the biggest names in entertainment and amid a series of festivals, concerts, and other activities.

Rocket League kicks off the elite esports action as 24 top teams — including Latin American hotshots FURIA, FaZe Clan and Rogue from North America, and homegrown heroes Team Falcons from Saudi Arabia — battle it out. A staggering $15 million prize pool is on offer.

Egyptian legend Amr Diab will be joined by Colombian superstar J Balvin, Swedish sensation Sebastian Ingrosso, Bosnian-Swedish dance favorite Salvatore Ganacci, and Riyadh-based DJ Elfuego on a star-packed bill for the opening night of the eight-week entertainment extravaganza at Boulevard Riyadh City.

Ahmed Al-Bishri, chief operations officer at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “The opening ceremony of Gamers8 will be a spectacular occasion, befitting a city of the imagination and ambition of Riyadh. The beginning of esports competition, a dazzling firework show, drone display and some of the biggest-name musicians in the world makes Thursday, July 14 a date for everyone’s diaries.

“We are delighted that artists of the caliber of Amr Diab, J Balvin, Sebastian Ingrosso and Salvatore Ganacci are flying to Riyadh for the opening night, and their eagerly anticipated attendance reflects the size and scale of Gamers8. The goal of Gamers8 is to bring the virtual world of esports and gaming out into the physical realm of Riyadh while merging a plethora of other fun and futuristic events and attractions. We look forward to revealing even more artists of the quality of the opening night as the summer progresses — so watch this space.”

Diab, the bestselling Middle Eastern artist and a Guinness World Record holder, is famous for tracks including “Tamally Ma’ak” and “Yetalemo.”

Both Balvin and Ingrosso are Grammy Award-nominated artists. Balvin, known as the Prince of Reggaeton, is one of the best-selling Latin music artists worldwide and famous for tracks including “Mi Gente,” “6 AM,” and “I Like It.” Ingrosso, a star DJ and producer, is back in Saudi Arabia having performed on the Soundstorm festival mainstage in Riyadh last year.

DJ and record producer Ganacci is best known for hit tune “Horse,” which has 45 million views on YouTube.

Organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, Gamers8 will focus on four main pillars, each with something to offer for everyone, which are: Professional esports, festivals, music and “The Next World Forum,” an esports and gaming forum that will bring together sector leaders and experts from around the world.

A staggering $15 million prize pool is on offer.


Glory for Saudi Arabia as they beat Egypt on penalties to take 2022 Arab Cup U-20

Glory for Saudi Arabia as they beat Egypt on penalties to take 2022 Arab Cup U-20
Updated 37 min 52 sec ago

Glory for Saudi Arabia as they beat Egypt on penalties to take 2022 Arab Cup U-20

Glory for Saudi Arabia as they beat Egypt on penalties to take 2022 Arab Cup U-20
  • Final ended 1-1 after extra time at Abha’s Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Stadium
  • Young Green Falcons retained title won last year in Cairo after Algeria victory

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia won the 2022 Arab Cup U-20 after defeating Egypt 5-3 on penalties in the final at Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Stadium in Abha.

The match had ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time.

The win means the young Green Falcons retain the trophy they won last year when they beat Algeria 2-1 in the final at 30 June Stadium in Cairo. With two tournament wins, the Saudis now hold the record for most titles after five editions of the competition.

The first half looked to be heading toward a stalemate before Abdulaziz Al-Aliwa scored in the 45th minute to give Saudi Arabia the lead.

Egypt struck back only four minutes into the second half through Salah Basha, but there would be no further addition to the score as the match ended 1-1 and headed into extra time. However, the extra 30 minutes produced no goals and the final went to penalties.

After the first three penalties had been converted, Egypt missed their second spot-kick. It would prove decisive as the next five were all scored to give Saudi Arabia a 5-3 shootout win and the 2022 Arab Cup U-20 title.

For the hosts, the win capped a glorious tournament that had kicked off on July 20.

Saudi Arabia topped Group A ahead of Mauritania and the UAE to reach the quarter-finals, where they defeated Yemen 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

In the semis, the Saudis comprehensively beat Palestine 5-0 to set up the showdown with Egypt, who beat Algeria 3-1 in an all-African last-four clash.

Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Radif finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.


Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham

Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham
Updated 07 August 2022

Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham

Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham
  • Haaland lived up to the hype since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund to give the champions a perfect start to the season
  • Kevin De Bruyne split open the West Ham defense for Haaland to gallop clear on goal and slot low past Areola for his second

LONDON: Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City opened their defense of the title with a 2-0 win at West Ham on Sunday.
Haaland lived up to the hype since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund to give the champions a perfect start to the season in the searing heat of East London.
West Ham nearly derailed City’s title chances when they led 2-0 at half-time in the penultimate game of last season before Pep Guardiola’s men battled back for the point that ultimately edged out Liverpool at the top of the table.
But they were no match this time as Haaland immediately proved the value of City adding a proven goalscorer to their arsenal.
The Norwegian has been signed as the long-term successor to Sergio Aguero and started his City career just like the club’s all time record goalscorer with a double on his league debut.
Haaland had missed chances in City’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Community Shield, but Guardiola’s warning that the goals would soon flow proved to be correct.
City’s patient possession game wore the Hammers down as temperatures in the English capital soared above 30 degrees celsius on Sunday.
Haaland took responsibility from the penalty spot to open his Premier League account after he had been brought down by Alphonse Areola.
West Ham started the second half with more attacking intent but that simply played into the hands of City’s new weapon as Kevin De Bruyne split open their defense with one pass on the counter-attack for Haaland to gallop clear on goal and slot low past Areola.


Ten Hag loses first game as Man Utd manager to Brighton

Ten Hag loses first game as Man Utd manager to Brighton
Updated 07 August 2022

Ten Hag loses first game as Man Utd manager to Brighton

Ten Hag loses first game as Man Utd manager to Brighton
  • Pascal Gross struck twice to put the Seagulls in command
  • Boos rang out around Old Trafford at the half-time whistle

MANCHESTER: Erik ten Hag said Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence will improve Manchester United after a dismal start to his reign in charge as Brighton recorded their first ever victory at Old Trafford with a 2-1 win on Sunday.
Any hope of a fresh start for United after a miserable 2021/22 season was wiped away within 45 minutes as Pascal Gross struck twice to put the Seagulls in command.
Alexis Mac Allister’s own goal gave United a foothold in the game, but they rarely looked like getting back on level terms, showing the scale of the task lying ahead for Ten Hag.
The former Ajax boss left Ronaldo on the bench after he only returned to pre-season training last week.
Ronaldo is reportedly seeking an exit from Old Trafford to play Champions League football this season.
But without the five time Ballon d’Or winner, United had no focal point to their attack as Christian Eriksen started in an unfamiliar role as a false nine.
“It’s clear to see we were better in the middle with Eriksen back and Ronaldo up front,” said Ten Hag after Ronaldo came on eight minutes into the second half.
“If he was available, I would’ve played him. Cristiano is now 10 days in team training. That’s too short for 90 minutes. That’s the reason we didn’t start him.”
The outcome could have been very different had Bruno Fernandes not blazed over a glorious chance on six minutes.
But Brighton, who beat United 4-0 when the sides last met in May, quickly settled into their passing rhythm.
Graham Potter’s men have lost two of their best players during the transfer window, as Yves Bissouma joined Spurs and Marc Cucurella moved to Chelsea this week for a club record fee in excess of £60 million ($72 million).
But it did not show as Brighton exposed the same flaws in United’s wide open midfield to pick apart Ten Hag’s men with ease.
“It’s not easy because as the transfer fees suggests they were two really key players,” said Potter.
“In any team you miss good players. We have got a good group, they are ambitious, they are not perfect, but they give everything and when you’re a coach it gives you a chance.”
Danny Welbeck, who United discarded back in 2014, was a constant threat in behind the vulnerable defensive pairing of Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez.
Welbeck created the opener as he ran off Maguire and laid the ball across goal for Gross to slot into an unguarded net at the back post.
The German midfielder now has six goals in 12 appearances against United, as he was again in the right place to take advantage when David de Gea could only parry Solly March’s shot across goal.
Boos rang out around Old Trafford at the half-time whistle, with the home fans not only restless about the state of their side on the pitch.
The club shop was forced to close before kick-off by a protest against United’s owners, the Glazer family, on the day Avram Glazer made a rare appearance in the directors’ box.
Ronaldo’s introduction early in the second half at least lifted the noise levels inside Old Trafford, which in turn roused United into a response.
Marcus Rashford failed to build on his encouraging pre-season form as Robert Sanchez produced a stunning save to block the England international’s effort from Ronaldo’s pinpoint cross.
Sanchez quickly undid that good work to give United a lifeline 22 minutes from time.
The Spanish international flapped at a corner under pressure from Diogo Dalot and then slapped the ball into his own net off the unfortunate Mac Allister.
But an expected siege on the Brighton goal never materialized as the visitors comfortably saw out the closing stages for a famous win.


Saudi Arabian team takes home gold in the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022

Saudi Arabian team takes home gold in the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022
Updated 07 August 2022

Saudi Arabian team takes home gold in the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022

Saudi Arabian team takes home gold in the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022
  • In unified sports, players with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same team

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian team made history by winning the gold medal in the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In the final match, Saudi Arabia defeated Romania 3-1.

The Saudi team competed in the Special Olympics Unified Cup for the first time, along with 22 other teams from around the world, from July 31 to Aug. 6 in Detroit, Michigan.

In unified sports, players with and without intellectual disabilities compete on the same team.

The UAE, Egypt and Morocco were among the Arab teams that competed in the cup.

Other teams included Brazil, the US, Jamaica, South Korea, Nigeria, Paraguay, Romania, and Singapore.

Chairman of the Special Olympics International Board of Directors Dr. Timothy Shriver congratulated the Saudi team on their gold medal win.

Director of the Saudi Special Olympics Abdulrahman Al-Quraishi also congratulated the players, technical and administrative staff, and members of the Saudi Mission for their outstanding achievement.


Hooked: Riyadh boxing exhibition shows sport’s growth

Hooked: Riyadh boxing exhibition shows sport’s growth
Updated 07 August 2022

Hooked: Riyadh boxing exhibition shows sport’s growth

Hooked: Riyadh boxing exhibition shows sport’s growth
  • Supported by Princess Nouf bint Mohammed Al-Saud and TKO Fighters gym, the event included 11 male and female amateurs and six male professional fighters from the region

RIYADH: Boxing in Saudi Arabia continues to raise its profile, with an international exhibition featuring several international fighters showcasing the sport’s potential in the Kingdom.

The “Beasts of the Middle East” event took place at Riyadh’s Radisson Blu Airport Hotel on July 29, bringing in boxers from around the region, with 11 female and male amateurs — as well as six male professionals — taking part in the exhibition bouts.

“Beasts of the Middle East” was supported by Princess Nouf bint Mohammed Al-Saud and TKO Fighters in the Al-Wadi suburb of Riyadh.

The exhibition is the latest event held by the gym and its American founder, coach Lee Starks.

In 2021, Starks established TKO Fighters as the first ever women’s boxing team in Saudi Arabia, starting with just four young female fighters. Since then, more and more women, and men, have embraced the sport across the Kingdom.

“I would like to support Saudi women in all sports. Without the help of the crown prince and the Ministry of Sport, this would not have been possible. I hope we can make every Saudi man and woman proud with this great goal,” Princess Nouf said.

These initiatives provide a platform for the Kingdom’s youth to empower themselves and improve their skills alongside international competitors, and showing their support among the show’s over 100 attendees were President Abdullah Alharbi and Vice President Rasha Alkhamis of the Saudi Boxing Federation.

Extra safety precautions were taken for the fights involving the amateur boxers, who took part in match-ups made up of three rounds, each lasting a minute. Meanwhile, the main events involving the professionals saw fights between four to six rounds.

The bouts were for exhibition purposes only, with no winners or losers declared, and all participants received cash prizes from Princess Nouf for taking part.

Several of the boxers disclosed to Arab News that boxing had transformed them mentally and physically when they were enduring difficult periods in their lives. They also revealed that their love for challenges inspired them to pick up the sport and continue to improve in it.

Renowned Kuwaiti boxer, Noura Al-Mutairi, showed her pride in fellow GCC boxers: “I came to Saudi Arabia because this is an opportunity that a female (fighter) cannot miss. I want to participate in this large event that represents us Khaleeji women.”

“Saudi Arabia has taken the lead in empowering women in sports in the GCC region. We are proud to know we Khaleeji and Arab women can do whatever anyone else can do, and we can build something very big. I didn’t choose boxing, boxing chose me,” she said.

Saudi boxing and MMA champion, Abdullah Al-Qahtani, known as “The Ripper”, displayed his fighting spirit prior to his bout.

“You have to suffer to make it. Nothing is easy. I can’t blame anyone for saying this sport is dangerous, and that’s why this sport is made for me,” Al-Qahtani told Arab News. “I’m also a fighter in my regular life. As a child, you already know where you’re heading to. Any Saudi can reach any heights in this sport as long as you train and dedicate yourself to it.”

Saudi boxing champion Sara Al-Shahrani has been boxing from a very young age and she expressed her gratitude to TKO Fighters for the opportunity she was given before entering the ring.

“I’m good at this, it’s natural, “ she said. “Coach Lee has helped with training, and I’m gonna crush this. I’m going to give 200 percent of myself into making my fight the best fight of the entire night.”

UAE’s national boxing champion, Austine Nnamdi, nicknamed “The Magnificent Dancer”, also revealed his excitement at being in Riyadh and predicted a bright future for the young Saudis taking up the sport.

“I’m going to be dancing on that stage. It’s not fake, it’s what I do every day,” Nnamdi said. “Seeing the Saudi amateur fighters, since I was once an amateur myself, I can see that they’re going to go very far and be as happy and as successful in their careers as I am.”