New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival

New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival
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The three-year-old Alwazir from Sky Blue stable owned by Abdulelah Almousa at the moment of its victory. (JCSA)
New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival
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Prince Khaled bin Fahd bin Mohamed bin Abdulrahman handing over a prize to the winners. (JCSA)
New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival
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Bint Ghaliat Al-Khalediah for Al Khalediah stable during its winning run. (JCSA)
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Updated 22 January 2023

New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival

New champions shine at Kings and Princes Cups Festival
  • Aeadat claims Fahd Cup title; Albugami stable wins first Kings Cup on Saturday
  • Alwazir claims the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Faisal Cup on Friday

The 8th Kings and Princes Cups Festival concluded late on Saturday at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah with new champions shining in the final rounds of the event.

The festival was organized by the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia in appreciation of Saudi Arabia’s late kings and princes. It presented five main rounds of various distances and categories, named after King Saud bin Abdulaziz, King Faisal bin Abdulaziz, King Khalid bin Abdulaziz and King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, with prize money of $213,000 (SR800,000) for each round.

Tilal Al-Khalediah wins the Sword

Tilal Al-Khalediah, led by his rider Adel Al-Faridy, claimed the seventh round of the Imam Faisal bin Turki Sword for the second time, proving to be the strongest horse in the Saudi field, ending the 1,600m race in a time of 1.45.85 minutes.

The horse Hamdani Khaled Al-Khalediah came in second place while Ataallah Al-Khalediah finished third.

Prince Bandar bin Khaled Al Faisal, president of the equestrian organization, handed the sword and the prize to the winners at the end of the race.

King Abdullah’s sons claim their fourth title

Aeadat achieved its third victory in the Saudi field under the guidance of rider Rayan Al-Twrish by winning the King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Cup to mark the fourth Cup for the stable of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s sons.

The four-year-old horse, Aeadat, covered a distance of 1,600m in a time of 1.29.76 minutes.

Ehqaaq came in second place while Theqatee finished third.

Albugami stable lifts their first Kings’ Cup

The mare Salfan won the King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Cup trophy, adding the first kings’ title for the Majed Mahal W. Albugami stable under the helm of rider Abdullah Al-Aoufi.

The four-year-old Salfan took the lead, ending the 1,600m race in a time of 2:04.4 minutes, while horse Ibn Laboun snatched the runner-up place before Mostawly who was in third place.

Scotland Yard crowned champion in the King Faisal Cup

Scotland Yard, owned by Prince Saud bin Salman, won the King Faisal Cup trophy under the helm of rider Alexis Mourinho.

The four-year-old Scotland Yard took the lead in the last 200m, ending the race in a time of 1.37.78 minutes and achieving a surprising victory.

Horse Great Scot finished second, while Mer’Ab was in third place.

Veteran Derevo makes comeback for Red stable

The veteran Derevo, owned by the Red stable of Prince Faisal bin Khalid bin Abdulaziz, claimed the King Saud bin Abdulaziz Cup under the helm of rider James Doyle, only 30 minutes after losing the King Faisal Cup.

Derevo took the lead, ending the 2,000m race in a time of 2.04.43 minutes.

Stay Thinking, ridden by Abdulla Al-Rashid, took second place, while Pin Your Hopes, under the helm of rider Adel Al-Farid, secured third place.

Meanwhile, the first renewal of the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Cup, taking place at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Janadriyah, concluded late on Friday.

The JCSA had organized its 86th festival this season in appreciation of Prince Mohamed bin Abdulrahman and the founding king.

Prince Mohammed, one of the most prominent men in the Kingdom's unification stage under the helm of his brother king Abdulaziz, played a key role in handling various challenges, involving management and political roles.

The festival presented three main rounds of racing over a range of distances in a number of categories: The Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Faisal Cup with a prize money of $80,000 (SR 300,000), the JCSA Challenge with a prize money of $40,000 (SR 150,000) and the JCSA Award with a prize money of $35,000 (SR 130,000).

Important win for Sky Blue Stable

The three-year-old Alwazir, from the Sky Blue Stable, owned by Abdulelah Almousa, claimed the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Cup trophy with its rider Victor Gutierrez.

The winning horse, Alwazir, covered a distance of 1,800m in a time of 1.50.87 minutes, followed by the runner-up, Atta Alghali, with its rider Adel Alfaridi, while Raddad came in third with its rider Alexis Mourinho.

Prince Khaled bin Fahd bin Mohammed handed the prize to the winners.

Cardano wins JCSA Award

Cardano, owned by Fahad Haif M. Alqahtani, brilliantly won the JCSA Award, as the three-year-old filly, with its rider Mohamed Aldaham, needed 1.39.01 minutes to snatch the lead in the 1,600m race.

Motashaamekh, with its rider Adel Al-Faridi, came in second ahead of Almatn, who came in third with rider Alexis Mourinho.

The Jocky Club Challenge

Bint Ghaliat Al Khalediah, with its rider Fahd Al-Faridi, claimed the JCSA Challenge, followed by Taqdeer Al- Khalediah who came in second, while Shmoos Al-Khalediah came in third.

Bint Ghaliat covered the distance of 1,600m in a time of 1.48.30 minutes, snatching the lead in the race.


Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final
Updated 30 January 2023

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final

Al-Ittihad beat Al-Feiha 2-0 in Saudi Super Cup Final
  • Although Al-Feiha had defeated defending league champions Al-Hilal 1-0 on Thursday, they were the underdogs against Al-Ittihad

Two goals from Abderrazak Hamdallah gave Al-Ittihad a 2-0 win over Al-Feiha on Sunday in the Saudi Super Cup Final in Riyadh to hand the Jeddah giants their first major piece of silverware in five years.

The victory also gave former Tottenham Hotspur and FC Porto boss Nuno Santo his first trophy in Saudi Arabia.

Although Al-Feiha had defeated defending league champions Al-Hilal 1-0 on Thursday, they were the underdogs against Al-Ittihad.

The victory handed the Jeddah giants their first major piece of silverware in five years. (SPA)

And Hamdallah, who featured for Morocco in the World Cup, struck early in each half to give the Tigers a big win against their 10-man opponents.

The first goal came in the third minute. Al-Ittihad’s Romarinho picked up the ball just outside the Al-Feiha half and the Brazilian’s pass fed Hamdallah who took one touch on the edge of the area and then coolly lifted the ball over Vladimir Stojkovic.

It was a great start for the Jeddah giants and it got better for them midway through the first half as Al-Feiha were reduced to 10 men. Abdulrahman Al-Safari went in high with his studs on Egyptian midfielder Tarek Hamed and was shown a straight red card from the referee.

Five minutes before the break it looked as if the in-form Romarinho had extended his side’s lead but the Brazilian, who finished smartly from close range, was adjudged by the referee’s assistant — and also VAR — to have been offside.

Al-Ittihad had a chance to tighten their grip on the trophy just before the break as Stojkovic was penalized for bringing down Hamdallah inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Abdulrahman Al-Oboud dragged his shot wide.

An Al-Feiha player comforts a forlorn colleague after the Al Majma'ah-based club's loss to Al-Ittihad. (SPA)

The frustration for watching fans in Jeddah did not last long as Hamdallah doubled Al-Ittihad’s lead three minutes after the restart, much to the dismay of Stojkovic. The Serbian goalkeeper came a long way off his line in an attempt to punch away a free-kick from deep, and Hamdallah’s head got there first to send the ball looping into the net.

Al-ittihad were on top for much of the second half and worked hard to ensure that they stayed in front.

Boss Santo said: “It was a good performance from us and we worked hard. It was a tough game and we are delighted that we ended up winning.”

Santo, who arrived last summer after spells with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Spurs, looked delighted as his players collected the trophy.

There is still the challenge of becoming champions of Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2009, but Santos is pleased with the progress his side have made so far.

He said: “We know that there is still a long way to go this season.

“The most important thing is that we stay together and work hard. If we can do that then who knows what can happen?

“It is great to lift this trophy but we hope that this is just the beginning.”


Madrid frustrated by Sociedad, loses ground to Barcelona

Madrid frustrated by Sociedad, loses ground to Barcelona
Updated 30 January 2023

Madrid frustrated by Sociedad, loses ground to Barcelona

Madrid frustrated by Sociedad, loses ground to Barcelona
  • Vinícius played well overall and created some good opportunities for himself, but in the end was thwarted by a great performance from Sociedad goalkeeper Álex Remiro

MADRID: Vinícius Júnior had his share of chances to break the deadlock. More than once, the Brazil forward was in front of the opposition goal with only the ‘keeper to beat.
But Vinicius and his teammates couldn’t get the job done on Sunday as Real Madrid was held to a 0-0 draw at home by third-place Real Sociedad to lose ground to Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league.
The result left defending champion Madrid five points behind the Catalan rival, which won 1-0 at Girona on Saturday. Sociedad stayed three points behind Madrid, and eight behind Barcelona. Both Madrid and Barcelona have a game in hand.
Vinícius played well overall and created some good opportunities for himself, but in the end was thwarted by a great performance from Sociedad goalkeeper Álex Remiro. He made three key saves against close-range attempts by Vinícius, and also saw the Brazilian send the ball wide in a one-on-one situation.
“Vinícius played a good match, if he had scored it would have been a spectacular one,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “He has been playing well. Sometimes he will miss, but he is always trying.”
Karim Benzema and Rodrygo also couldn’t break through the Sociedad defense as Madrid was held scoreless for the first time this season despite more than 20 attempts against Sociedad, which also had its opportunities in an intense match at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
“We played a very complete game but couldn’t score,” Ancelotti said. “We were close. I’m satisfied with the draw because we played well.”
Madrid, coming off a home win in the derby against Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, remains unbeaten against Sociedad since a 4-3 home loss in the quarterfinals of the Copa in 2020, a competition the Basque Country side won.
Sociedad was coming off a 1-0 loss at Barcelona in the Copa quarterfinals, a result that ended its nine-game winning streak in all competitions. It had been one of the hottest teams in Spain until the consecutive setbacks against the powerhouses.
ATLETICO REBOUNDS
Atletico Madrid bounced back from its Copa elimination against Madrid with a 1-0 win at seventh-place Osasuna.
Substitute Saúl Ñíguez scored the winner less than 10 minutes after he had entered the match in the 65th.
Atletico relinquished a late 1-0 lead against Madrid to lose 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday. The cup was the only competition Atletico realistically had a chance to win as it had already been eliminated from the Champions League and the Europa League, and it currently trails league leader Barcelona by 13 points.
“We are out of the Champions (League) and the Copa, but the motivation to play for Atletico remains,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “I’ll always demand that from my players.”
It was the third win in four games in all competitions for Simeone’s team, while struggling Osasuna remained winless in four straight.
Osasuna has only one victory in eight matches overall, though it hadn’t lost since last year.
Atletico hadn’t won an away match in the league since October at Real Betis.
WILLIAMS’ RUN ENDS
Iñaki Williams’ absence in Athletic Bilbao’s 1-0 loss at Celta Vigo ended his record of 251 consecutive league appearances. He did not play in Vigo because of injury.
Williams had played in every league match for Bilbao since April 2016.
Veteran striker Iago Aspas scored Celta’s winner in the 71st. The result moved Celta to 16th place, while Bilbao remained eighth.
Bilbao is winless in five league games, since a 3-0 home victory against Valladolid before the World Cup.
VALENCIA’S STRUGGLES
Valencia’s struggles continued with a 1-0 loss at Valladolid, adding pressure on coach Gennaro Gattuso.
Valencia has only one win in its last 10 league games, against Real Betis before the World Cup. It dropped to 14th place and one point above the relegation zone.
Canadian forward Cyle Larin scored a 90th-minute winner for 17th-place Valladolid, which ended its five-game losing streak across all competitions.


Females ‘just getting started’ in esports, says Saudi federation official

(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
Updated 30 January 2023

Females ‘just getting started’ in esports, says Saudi federation official

(Supplied/Saudi Esports Federation)
  • The esports scene has traditionally been dominated by men, and it remains as such, but has seen a substantial shift in attitude and mindset for the better in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Female participation in esports is only set to increase in the coming years, Reaam Alkhudairi, from the Saudi Esports Federation has said.

In the Kingdom alone, approximately six million people played games in 2020, with nearly half of the new players in Saudi Arabia being women.

The esports scene has traditionally been dominated by men, and it remains as such, but has seen a substantial shift in attitude and mindset for the better in Saudi Arabia, Alkhudairi said, adding that more changes will take place as Vision 2030 continues.

Saudi Arabia's gaming sector is thriving, and especially its esports scene, and experiencing more opportunities for women as well, she said.

Esports are an exciting and challenging endeavor, and Saudi Esports Federation is dedicated to encouraging and supporting youths and adults alike to take part, Alkhudairi said.

The Saudi Esports Federation is also seeking to improve the skills of females in esports as part of its mission, she added, citing the example of Najd Fahd, who is now recognized as the first Saudi Arabian female to win first place in FIFA 20 and who was also awarded Best Female Player of 2021 by the Saudi Esports Federation Awards (SEF Awards).


Mitoma magic inflicts more Brighton misery on Liverpool

Mitoma magic inflicts more Brighton misery on Liverpool
Updated 29 January 2023

Mitoma magic inflicts more Brighton misery on Liverpool

Mitoma magic inflicts more Brighton misery on Liverpool
  • Lewis Dunk leveled before the break for Brighton and they were well worthy of the victory given to them by a moment of magic from Mitoma

BRIGHTON: Liverpool’s disastrous season suffered another blow on Sunday as the holders were dumped out the FA Cup by a 2-1 defeat at Brighton.

Kaoru Mitoma’s brilliant control and finish in stoppage time earned the Seagulls a place in the fifth round.

Liverpool had led at the Amex through Harvey Elliott, but have now won just once in their last six games.

Lewis Dunk leveled before the break for Brighton and they were well worthy of the victory given to them by a moment of magic from Mitoma.

The Japanese winger cushioned Pervis Estupinan’s cross into his path, flicked the ball over Joe Gomez and fired high past Alisson Becker in the 92nd minute.

Liverpool are languishing in ninth in the Premier League, 21 points behind pacesetters Arsenal.

Their FA Cup exit leaves the Champions League as their only remaining shot at a trophy this season.

Last season, Jurgen Klopp’s men were on the brink of a historic quadruple, which included their first FA Cup triumph in 16 years.

But Klopp is still searching for answers to halt their decline after a second defeat on the south coast in 15 days.

The German described Brighton’s 3-0 win when the sides last met as the worst performance of his managerial career.

Liverpool did at least put up a fight this time and will rue two big early chances missed by Mohamed Salah.

The Egyptian did at least have a hand in Liverpool’s goal as he released Elliott, whose strike had too much power for Steele to keep out.

Brighton hit back within nine minutes when Tariq Lamptey’s powerful shot was deflected past the helpless Alisson by Dunk.

The hosts were without Moises Caicedo after the Ecuadorian took to social media on Friday to try and force through a move to Arsenal.

Brighton have already lost Leandro Trossard, who scored a hat trick against Liverpool earlier in the season, to the Gunners this month.

But those absences did not show as Liverpool were left riding their luck for most of the second period.

Ibrahima Konate and Fabinho were extremely fortunate to escape red cards for challenges on Alexis Mac Allister and Evan Ferguson.

Alisson threw himself in front of Solly March to make a brilliant save from Mitoma’s inventive cross and Konate did likewise to block from Ferguson.

But Brighton’s pressure finally got its reward when Mitoma struck his fourth goal in six games.


Diriyah Season to host first BMX Freestyle World Cup in region

Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Updated 29 January 2023

Diriyah Season to host first BMX Freestyle World Cup in region

Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

DIRIYAH: Diriyah will host the BMX Freestyle World Cup, which will act as a qualifying event for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, on February 10 to 18 at the Elite Sports Center.

Hosted as part of the Diriyah Season, it will be the first time the event will held in the Middle East. 

More than 175 cyclists and bikers, representing 32 countries around the world, will compete for the title on a circuit especially made to host the championship at an arena capable of hosting up to 10,000 fans.

“Historic Diriyah will turn into the capital of urban sports in the world by hosting the World Cup, with the participation of a group of the most famous male and female athletes in the world, who will compete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics,” Mai Al-Hellabi of Diriyah Season said.

Al-Hilabi indicated that the events accompanying the tournament will include a number of entertainment and sports activities and experiences that will be presented to the public for citizens and visitors from outside the Kingdom of all ages and groups.

Tickets can be booked here.