RIYADH: It’s hard to sum up the considerable effort that went into creating, organizing and celebrating the first Saudi Games.
This incredible sporting mega event had short and long-term goals, including showing that sports are essential, competitors are recognized, and participation is rewarding.
Above all, it showed that we have champions among us. This was the main social media hashtag of the event, used to focus on recognizing the value of athletes.
The Saudi Games were an opportunity for veteran athletes and the new faces alike. I was happy to see both joining and more pleased to know that the seniors I used to write about who were encouraged to come out of retirement were still fit to win.
The presence of retired athletes reflected the strong foundation that nurtured them. Yet, it also motivated the new generation to work hard and perform better in the next games to add their own story to Saudi sporting history.
Whether it was by an athlete, their parents or friends, or sports fans, the way news about the games was circulated with pride, joy, and generous encouragement and congratulations was a great example.
It showed us how genuinely a national mentality could develop when support and collaboration were provided from top to bottom of the hierarchy of the people surrounding the athletes.
A new era for Saudi athletes has begun. Congratulations, everyone, and congratulations to Saudi Arabia’s youth.
Thanks to the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee President Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Vice-President Prince Fahd bin Jalawi and Advisor to the Vice-President and Deputy Director of the Saudi Games Princess Delayel Bin Nahar Al-Saud.
They paved the way to encourage the addition of new federations to supervise sports, creating opportunities for athletes with different backgrounds and passions to pursue their dream and excel in these inaugural games. They may be thinking globally too, in time.
The number of participants reached 6,000 and tickets were almost all sold out. The attendance of parents and the work of national volunteers, coaches and referees all adds up to the success of this event.
If there is anything I could add, it would be that the implementation of Vision 2030 in sports has had a beautiful impact on our nation’s youth and their future.