JEDDAH: The first-ever Yogasana Sports Championship in Saudi Arabia concluded in Jeddah on Saturday at the University of Business and Technology with more than 112 participants from all across the Kingdom.
The one-day event was organized by the Saudi Yoga Committee to promote yoga as a competitive sport in cooperation with the Saudi Sports Ministry and in the presence of experts from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation.
During the championship, participants from all age groups displayed different postures, known as “asanas,” and candidates were selected on the basis of their performance.
Participants came from various age groups, ranging from 6 years old to over 18.
Nouf Al-Marwaai, the Saudi Yoga Committee’s president, said that encouraging participation in yoga from an early age can foster a health-conscious society.
She said that she is proud of the launch of this tournament, the first of its kind in the region, and that it is reflective of the efforts of the Kingdom to promote the practice.
“Such competitions motivate youth to commit to regular yoga practice,” she added.
“Both the male and female referees who arbitrated the championship are from the first group of Saudi yogasana referees, whose graduation was celebrated by the committee shortly before the lunch of the tournament.”
The number of graduates in Riyadh included 19 women from several different regions in the Kingdom, while the number of graduates in Jeddah included 22 women.
The Saudi Yoga Committee has organized a training camp, hosted by the University of Business and Technology, a full week before the start of the tournament, with the aim of preparing participants for the championship, Al-Marwaai explained.
Yoga instructor Noura Nour, whose team traveled from Riyadh to participate in the championship, told Arab News that she is happy to see such an event held in Saudi Arabia.
“Yoga has become increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia. As a yoga instructor, I have seen many people of all ages joining our classes because they realized that the sport of yogasana has many benefits for their health. I am sure that the Saudi Yoga Committee will take it to a higher level,” Nour said.
Hasan Al-Hajjaj from Qatif, who bagged third place in the recent Yoga International Championship organized by the UN, said that yogasana is booming in Saudi Arabia with the support of the Ministry of Sports and the Saudi Yoga Committee.
Rahi, a certified yoga instructor who participated in the championship, said: “I am so glad to be part of the first yogasana championship, and I am so happy to see yoga growing so fast in the Kingdom.”
Joud Sharaf, a 12-year-old yogi who represented the Saudi Yoga Committee at the UTS Festival for Artistic Yoga during the second edition of the Asian Games hosted by Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that she is enjoying yoga and hopes to improve in order to participate in international championships.