JEDDAH: Several agreements will be signed with major universities in Saudi Arabia to support and promote yoga over the next few months, according to Saudi Yoga Committee President Nouf Al-Marwaai.
The announcement was recently made in Riyadh during a forum titled “The Role of University Sports in Supporting the Kingdom’s Vision in Sports,” organized by the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
A number of experts and international leaders in university sports, led by the president of the International Universities Sports Federation, Leonz Eder, and Paulo Ferreira, director general of the International University Sports Federation, attended the event.
During her participation in the fourth session, titled “Development and Promotion of New Sports Games in Universities,” Al-Marwaai explained that the committee was striving hard to introduce yoga to universities, emphasizing the importance of practicing it for health and wellness.
“Yoga gives its practitioners many health benefits (for) both physical and mental well-being,” she said, adding that “one of the most important pillars of achieving Vision 2030 is to enhance participation in sports activities, and to achieve sports excellence locally, continentally, and internationally.”
She also explained that yoga is not just meditation and relaxation as some might believe, but “includes Asana posture practice, Pranayamas breathing techniques, Bandhas muscle control (and) then comes Dhayan and Yoga Nidra meditation and relaxation.”
She added that the committee “aims to discover the talents of distinguished yoga practitioners in all types of yoga in general or Yogasana sports, to hone their talents, and support them to participate and represent the Kingdom in local and international tournaments.”
First European Food Festival in Riyadh takes visitors on a culinary tour of Europe
Saudi Arabian Chefs Association hosts contest for Saudi and international cuisine
The participating countries at the festival presented visitors with an assortment of culinary specialities
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: Riyadh’s first European Food Festival brought unique flavors and experiences to visitors who embarked on a culinary journey of Europe in the heart of Saudi Arabia.
Organized by the EU delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the various embassies of EU member states, the Saudi Commission for Culinary Arts, and the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, the festival took place on March 16 and 17.
The festival was kicked off by Jaap Ora, project manager of the EU Embassy in Riyadh. In his speech, Ora expressed his joy at the organization of the event, which brings together several European countries to share their culinary traditions with their Saudi friends.
He mentioned loyal hotel partners, including the Hilton Hotel, the Radisson Blu Hotel and others, and expressed his gratitude to all the partners including the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association, the Culinary Arts Commission, and Mayada Badr and her team for their generous support of the initiative and for bringing a Saudi element, namely Saudi coffee, to the event.
Ora told Arab News: “The idea of such a festival was born out of the mutual love shared by Europeans and Saudis for good food as well as our desire to show the diversity and quality of European food and share the richness and refinement of European cuisine available in Saudi Arabia.”
The idea of such a festival was born out of the mutual love shared by Europeans and Saudis for good food as well as our desire to show the diversity and quality of European food and share the richness and refinement of European cuisine available in Saudi Arabia.
Jaap Ora, Deputy head of EU mission to KSA
He added: “Countries share their culture among themselves. Those who come to Saudi Arabia from abroad admire the Saudi culinary traditions and hospitality. Tonight, we invite you to be travelers visiting Europe, experiencing the richness of European cuisine.”
The participating countries at the festival presented visitors with an assortment of culinary specialities.
Belgium delighted visitors with tender, lightly caramelized Liège waffles. The Czech Republic highlighted the best cronuts in Prague from the Oh Deer Bakery, while Denmark brought forth juice and cake with dried fruits. The Netherlands prepared Dutch waffles for festival-goers, a favorite among children.
French restaurant Chez Bruno presented risotto, pasta, and pizza, as well as cool lemonade with cucumbers, and elderflower syrup, which tastes a bit like litchi and is known for its medicinal properties.
Several prominent French bakeries were present at the festival, including La Grenier à Pain, La Vie Claire, Fareen, and Eric Kayser with croissants stuffed with frangipane or pistachio cream, savory croissants, madeleines, quiche, brioche, meringues, and macarons. The Crêpe House was loved by adults and children alike, who patiently stood in line and appreciated and enjoyed the festival atmosphere with its international colors and smells.
Italy was strongly represented with a wide variety at the Eataly stand, from lasagnas, cannelloni, pizza, and unbeatable gelato that brought the flavors and colors of Italy to the Kingdom.
Riyadh’s first European Food Festival brought unique flavors and experiences to visitors who embarked on a culinary journey of Europe in the heart of Saudi Arabia. The festival, which took place on March 16 and 17, was organized by the European Union delegation in Riyadh, in cooperation with the Embassies of the EU member states, the Saudi Commission for Culinary Arts, and the Diplomatic Quarter.
The Spanish pavilion, Azura Tour de Espana, conquered visitors’ taste buds with its paella. Halal versions of wine and beer also sparked curiosity.
A Flamenco group performed to a lively repertoire of Spanish songs, and the atmosphere of the festival was elevated by the warm singing and the graceful dancing.
The Delta Cafe from Portugal offered a variety of dome-shaped lotus cakes. The famous Portuguese music group Al-Manata, formed by Portuguese expatriates who met in Saudi Arabia, also presented a set of Portuguese songs.
Yasser Jad, president of the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association and a consultant for the culinary hotel industry, explained the association’s competition, held in conjunction with the festival, to Arab News.
“It is a two-day competition sponsored by Tamimi Market and Qasr Al-Awani. There are two categories, one for traditional and modern Saudi cuisine and one for international cuisine since the ingredients for it come from countries in the EU,” he said.
“The chef/candidate must present a starter and a main. They have one hour to finalize and present their dishes.”
He added that a jury of two will give a score based on pre-defined criteria that they had decided upon.
Experiments range from cell science to artificial rain in microgravity
Updated 20 March 2023
RIYADH: The Saudi Space Commission has revealed the tasks and scientific research that will be conducted during the journey of Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Al-Qarni as part of a mission to the International Space Station later this year.
The commission announced that the two astronauts would carry out 11 pioneering experiments in microgravity during the flight, the results of which would help to enhance the Kingdom’s global position within space exploration and service to humanity.
Officials noted that the Saudi tests in space would range from human research and cell science to artificial rain in microgravity.
In the artificial rain experiment, water vapor will be condensed on plankton and salt atoms in microgravity to simulate the cloud seeding process that is used in Saudi Arabia and other countries to increase precipitation rates.
Led by Dr. Ashraf Farahat, the trial is for the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and will help scientists and researchers devise new ways to provide suitable conditions for humans — including the work of artificial rain — to live in space colonies on the surface of the Moon and Mars.
In addition to 11 pioneering experiments, three educational awareness studies will be conducted aboard the International Space Station in real time with students throughout Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Mawhiba, Riyadh Schools, and Misk Schools.
The experiment will also contribute to improving researchers’ understanding of rain-seeding technology, which will contribute to increasing rainfall in many countries.
To better understand the impacts of being in space on human health, Saudi Arabia’s Nebula Research and Development, led by Dr. Bader Shirah, is conducting six experiments aboard the ISS, which will be performed by the astronauts.
The tests will utilize novel neuroscience tools including measuring blood flow to the brain and the brain’s electrical activity, assessing intracranial pressure by non-invasive assessment of the pupil of the eye, and monitoring changes in the optic nerve over time.
Improved monitoring of neurological health may help make spaceflight safer in the future and allow for the development of rapid, non-invasive monitoring, as well as early interventions and the development of countermeasures.
Blood and bio-sample specimens will also be taken to examine multiomic biomarkers related to spaceflight and to map changes in the length, structure, and epigenetics of chromosomes and telomeres.
The cell science experiments led by the world-renowned King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center and its team of scientists, Dr. Khalid Abu Khabar, Dr. Wijdan Alahmadi, and Dr. Edward Hitti, will be investigating the inflammatory response of human immune cells in microgravity.
More specifically their research will be focused on changes in messenger ribonucleic acid (needed for protein production) decay, a process that can turn inflammation off. In addition, response to therapy is mimicked by utilizing the same cellular model. The crew will take RNA samples for analysis on ground, where the investigators will monitor RNA expression patterns, and hopefully thousands of mRNA half-lives will be measured.
Results are expected to contribute to a better understanding of space health and uncover biomarkers or potential therapies for inflammatory diseases in both space and on Earth.
In addition to these experiments, three educational awareness studies will be conducted aboard the ISS in real time with students throughout Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Mawhiba, Riyadh Schools, and Misk Schools.
The objectives will be to enhance students’ knowledge of space science and its contribution to improving the quality of life on Earth, by juxtaposing their terrestrial-based experiments to the ones being conducted in real-time by the Saudi crew on the ISS.
Students will be able to see at first-hand how the experiment environment can have a real effect on results. The real-time interaction will ensure that students have access to the Saudi crew live as they perform their experiments together, one on Earth, and one in space simultaneously.
The efforts by the Saudi Space Commission are designed to prepare future astronauts and engineers, through quality education and training programs, participation in scientific experiments, international research, and future space-related missions – all of which will contribute to raising the status of the Kingdom and to achieving the goals of Vision 2030.
Salem Saleh is a Grand International Master, ranked 59th in the world
Praise for General Entertainment Authority’s oversight and organization
Updated 19 March 2023
RIYADH: The United Arab Emirates’ Salem Saleh, who ranks 59th in the world and is a Grand International Master, has won first place in the Riyadh Calendar Chess Championship.
The two-day event was organized by the General Entertainment Authority in cooperation with the Saudi Chess Federation from March 17 to 18.
Bassem Amin and Fawzi Adham from Egypt, also Grand International Masters, came second and third in the competition.
The competition saw over 100 players from Saudi Arabia and abroad compete over nine rounds to determine the winners.
The winner was awarded SR300,000 ($80,000), with SR200,000 for second, and SR100,000 for third. Cash prizes were presented for up to the 10th position, totaling SR800,000.
The opening stage of the competition included five rounds on the first day, with the second day having four rounds.
Saleh said he was proud of his first place in the “very tough” competition. He also praised the organizers for having a well-run tournament.
Ahmed Al-Mehmadi, vice president for marketing and communication at the General Entertainment Authority, and Abdullah Al-Wahshi, president of the Saudi Chess Federation, presented the awards to the winners.
Al-Wahshi said the appeal committee did not record any complaints or observations about the referees.
Algeria’s Bellahcene Bilel Youcef said he hopes to play again in Saudi Arabia. “It was a wonderful experience.”
Tabuk hiking guides complete advanced training course
Aim to have experts showcase region’s natural beauty
Participants taught navigation, planning and emergency skills
Updated 19 March 2023
JEDDAH: Several guides completed a six-day advanced hiking training course recently in the northwestern city of Tabuk that is aimed at helping to showcase the distinctive natural beauty of the region.
The training program was organized by the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation under the supervision of the Ministry of Sports. The advanced course is a prerequisite for obtaining an SCHF hiking guide license.
Ali Al-Maliki, a hiking coach and lecturer, told Arab News that hiking was becoming an increasingly popular pastime in Saudi Arabia, among retirees and young people who want to remain in good physical condition.
“There are hiking teams in nearly all Saudi cities. There are some three hiking teams in Jeddah, for instance, and the numbers … around the Kingdom are increasing,” Al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said that three days of the course, held at King Khalid Sports City, focused on theory, with the rest of the time devoted to practical instruction.
“The course’s main aim was to refine and develop the skills of the (prospective) hiking guides in accordance with international requirements set by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. The course was also meant to further promote (the) sport,” he added.
Al-Maliki said that Tabuk was selected for its attractive natural terrain and rock formations, which impressed tourists who recently toured the area. “They were astonished to see the amazing rocks, waterfalls and streams. Saudi Arabia in general is rich in these natural features.”
Elaborating on the course, Al-Maliki said the trainees were introduced to licensing requirements, the health benefits of the activity, and personal qualities required of guides. The participants were also taught how to plan, use navigation equipment such as compasses and maps, respect the environmental, make types of hiking knots, and develop risk reduction and emergency skills.
He said the practical training took place in Bajdah, on the northwestern side of Tabuk, which has distinctive red sand dunes and rock formations.