Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia

Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia
Managing Director Saudi Sports for All Federation Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini. (SFA)
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Updated 01 June 2023
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Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia

Sports for All Federation recognized as national governing body for Functional Fitness in Saudi Arabia
  • SFA now eligible to register athletes for iF3 international events
  • SFA established in 2018 to develop community sports in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The International Functional Fitness Federation on Thursday recognized the Saudi Sports for All Federation as the national governing body for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia.

SFA, the main body responsible for developing community sports in the Kingdom, was established in 2018. In line with Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s blueprint for economic and social reform, the federation is mandated to raise physical activity levels in the Kingdom.

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, managing director of the federation, said: “We are delighted to be recognized by iF3 as a member of the iF3 for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia. As part of our mission to drive community sports in the Kingdom, we have placed an emphasis on shining a light on the power of functional fitness, launching projects, and hosting events, such as SandClash, to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Functional fitness has grown tremendously over the years in Saudi Arabia, and we are determined to inspire more people and communities to take it up.”

She added: “The 2023 edition of our SandClash event attracted over 4,000 participants, with close to 800 athletes from 45-plus countries taking part in the two-day competition. Our future SandClash events promise to be even bigger, with more competitors and participants taking part, raising the bar for fitness-themed competitions and engagements in the region.”

Gretchen Kittelberger, president of the International Functional Fitness Federation, said: “The Saudi Sports for All Federation has been doing great work to promote and grow functional fitness in Saudi Arabia for several years. In addition to launching a diverse range of community-focused campaigns, state-of-the-art facilities, and youth programs, the Federation also hosts a wide selection of events, including the popular SFA SandClash: Saudi Arabia’s first and only official licensed Cross Fit competition event.

“Having seen the strides SFA has made to enhance Saudi sports culture, we are incredibly excited for the Federation to join iF3 and look forward to working with the Federation to continue advancing the growth of functional fitness in the Kingdom and wider region. Like iF3, SFA is also a member of TAFISA,” she added.

“We share much in common and are united by our unwavering belief in the power of functional fitness to help people of all ages lead healthier lives.”

“Together, we can make the sport even more accessible to all. Inspired by SFA’s innovative initiatives, we are excited to partner with the federation as it continues to serve as a champion and ambassador for functional fitness in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

The SFA is now eligible to register athletes for iF3 international events. This season, the federation will be allotted quota spots, enabling the Federation to send athletes to worlds championships.


Liverpool fight back again to edge LASK on Europa League return

Liverpool fight back again to edge LASK on Europa League return
Updated 21 September 2023
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Liverpool fight back again to edge LASK on Europa League return

Liverpool fight back again to edge LASK on Europa League return
  • Romelu Lukaku earned last year’s beaten finalists Roma a 2-1 victory at Sheriff
  • Bayer Leverkusen crushed Swedes Hacken 4-0, Rennes cruised past Maccabi Haifa 3-0 in France, Spaniards Villarreal lost 2-0 to Panathinakos in Greece

PARIS: Liverpool fell behind for the fourth time in five matches this season but fought back to beat LASK 3-1 in Linz in the Europa League on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the early matches in the first round of the group stage of the second-tier European competition, Romelu Lukaku earned last year’s beaten finalists Roma a 2-1 victory at Sheriff.
Bayer Leverkusen crushed Swedes Hacken 4-0, Rennes cruised past Maccabi Haifa 3-0 in France, Spaniards Villarreal lost 2-0 to Panathinakos in Greece.
Liverpool, playing in the Europa League for the first time since finishing runners up in 2016, changed their entire starting 11 away to LASK and quickly fell behind.
In the 14th minute, Sascha Horvath lobbed a corner to Florian Flecker just outside the Liverpool box. The Austrian midfielder controlled the dropping ball before smashing a rocket shot past Caoimhin Kelleher in the Liverpool goal.
Darwin Nunez levelled with a 55th-minute penalty kick after Luis Diaz was brought down.
After 61 minutes, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp started to replace teenagers with regular starters.
Within two minutes they were ahead when Ryan Gravenberch burst down the right and crossed low for Diaz to score from close range.
Two minutes from the end Mohamed Salah, a second-half replacement, poked home a third.
In Moldova, Leandro Paredes scored four minutes into first-half injury time to give Roma the lead away to Sheriff.
Colombian Cristian Tovar levelled but Romelu Lukaku gave Jose Mourinho’s team a narrow victory.
In the Conference League, Aston Villa, returning to European competition after a 12-year gap, fell behind in the third minute to Legia Warsaw and despite equalising twice lost 3-2.
Pawel Wszolek met a cross from the left with a sliding volley to put Legia ahead.
Jhon Duran levelled after six minutes heading in a rebound after a Nicolo Zaniolo shot.
But the Poles regained the lead after 25 minutes when Wszolek crossed from the right and Ernest Muci scored on the half volley.
Lucas Digne levelled with a deflected shot from the edge of the box after 38 minutes but Muci settled the game with a low shot after 51 minutes.
Croatians Zrinjski Mostar came from three goals down to beat visiting AZ Alkmaar 4-3.
Myron Van Brederode, Sven Mijnans and Dani de Wit put the Dutch side three goals up by half-time.
Zvonimir Kozulj started the comeback after 48 minutes and ended it in the 81st minute, sandwiching goals from Josip Corluka and Aldin Hrvanovic.


Neymar draws blank as Al-Hilal draw with Damac

Neymar draws blank as Al-Hilal draw with Damac
Updated 21 September 2023
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Neymar draws blank as Al-Hilal draw with Damac

Neymar draws blank as Al-Hilal draw with Damac
  • Early goal from Malcom put the visitors ahead as Al-Hilal looked to bounce back from a disappointing opening game 1-1 draw in the Asian Champions League with Navbahor
  • Nicolae Stanciu lined up a free-kick for Damac and the Romanian’s shot took an awkward bounce as Bounou went down to make the save and it ended up in the net

Neymar is still looking for his first goal in Saudi Arabia as Al-Hilal were held to a 1-1 draw with lowly Damac on Thursday. Despite the dropped points, the Riyadh giants return to the capital as league leaders with 17 points from the first seven games of the season. 

An early goal from Malcom put the visitors ahead as they looked to bounce back from a disappointing opening game 1-1 draw in the Asian Champions League on Monday with Navbahor of Uzbekistan. It didn’t quite work out that way as Damac produced a performance that belied their next-to-bottom league standing.

Hilal coach Jorge Jesus fielded a strong line-up containing the club’s big summer signings. Neymar was in attack alongside fellow Brazilian Malcom. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic also started, as did Kalidou Koulibaly in defense and Yassine Bounou between the sticks. Ruben Neves came off the bench at the start of the second half.

By that time the men in white were looking for a bit of a cushion as Damac, still looking for a first win of the season with just three points from the opening six games, had their moments.

Malcom fired the opener after just nine minutes but there was much to thank Neymar for. The former Barcelona star had dropped deep — as he did on numerous occasions — to pick up possession. He then threaded a pass through two defenders on the left for Salem Al-Dawsari to get to the byline — to pull back for the Brazilian to smash the ball high into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Al-Hilal wanted a second, and almost immediately from the restart, attacked down the same side but this time Al-Dawsari’s low ball, with Neymar waiting in the middle, was cut out.

Damac almost levelled after 14 minutes. Abdulaziz Al-Bishi blocked a poor clearance, and after pushing Bounou out of the way on the right side, could not curl the ball into the empty net from the tightest of angles. It was a let-off for the 18-time champions.

There was another warning on the half-hour. Assan Ceesay looked like he was going to give Damac the lead as he shot from inside the area but Bounou was quick off his line to make the save.

Then Neymar should have scored. With eight minutes of the first half remaining, Malcom drew a number of defenders on the right side and then slipped the perfect pass into his fellow Brazilian, unmarked near the penalty spot. Neymar shot toward the bottom corner but was denied by the heel of Sultan Faqihi.

Just before the break, Damac came even closer as Farouk Chafai headed against the Hilal crossbar. The hosts continued to push for the equalizer after the break and got back on level terms midway through the second half. It was a deserved goal though slightly soft from the point of view of the visitors.

There didn’t seem to be a huge amount of danger when Nicolae Stanciu lined up a free-kick more than 30 meters from goal, but the Romanian’s shot took an awkward bounce as Bounou went down to make the save and it ended up in the net.

Soon after, Milinkovic-Savic produced a pass of beauty to dissect the Damac defense and while Neymar made his run behind the backline, he could not quite guide the ball between the posts.

Both teams continued to push forward for the winner but neither managed it. It was a second successive disappointing 1-1 draw for Al-Hilal.

Elsewhere, Gina Wijnaldum announced his arrival in Saudi Arabia with a brace as Ettifaq picked up a dramatic 4-3 win at home to Al-Tai. 

The former Liverpool star scored the fastest goal of the season so far, after 79 seconds, to give the Dammam men the lead. A hat-trick from Bernand Mensah ensured that Al-Tai were in the game as Moussa Dembele and then a second from Wijnaldum ensured it was 3-3 as the game entered injury time.

With 94 minutes on the clock Dembele struck again to send the team third, just a point behind leaders Al-Hilal.

Al-Taawoun are second after a 2-1 win at home to Al-Raed.


Oman hosts 10th West Asian Union Championship for Youth Football in December

Oman hosts 10th West Asian Union Championship for Youth Football in December
Updated 21 September 2023
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Oman hosts 10th West Asian Union Championship for Youth Football in December

Oman hosts 10th West Asian Union Championship for Youth Football in December
  • The championship will be held for footballers born in 2008
  • The tournament’s draw will take place on November 23, 2023

MUSCAT: The Omani Football Federation will be hosting the 10th West Asian Union Championship for Youth in Muscat between December 10 and 20, 2023.
Seven Arab countries including Jordan, UAE, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Yemen, in addition to the host, Oman, will participate in the championship that is being held for footballers born in 2008, said a media statement on Thursday.
The tournament’s draw is scheduled to take place on November 23, 2023, at the West Asian Union Headquarters in Jordan’s capital, Amman, and will be broadcast on its official YouTube page.
The Jordanian national team won the 9th championship which was held in Aqaba City, in Jordan, during the summer of 2022 after winning the final match 1-0 against Lebanon.
Along with the two finalists, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Syria and Iraq participated in the tournament’s ninth edition.


Saudi U-23 football team defeats Mongolia to top group at 2023 Asian Games

Saudi U-23 football team defeats Mongolia to top group at 2023 Asian Games
Updated 21 September 2023
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Saudi U-23 football team defeats Mongolia to top group at 2023 Asian Games

Saudi U-23 football team defeats Mongolia to top group at 2023 Asian Games
  • Saudi female rower Haya Al-Mami qualifies for the semifinals of the women’s single sculls competition
  • Over 6,000 journalists and 1,500 photographers have applied to cover the 19th Asian Games

HANGZHOU, China: The Saudi U-23 football team took the lead in the second group on Thursday after winning their second match against Mongolia at the 2023 Asian Games.
The Green Falcons thrashed Mongolia 3-0 with Haitham Asiri, Mohamed Marran and Naif Masoud scoring on the 18th, 49th and 74th minutes, respectively.
The Saudis now lead the group with three points following a goalless draw with Iran in their opening game.
Saudi female rower Haya Al-Mami has qualified for the semifinals of the women’s single sculls competition (W1x) after finishing third in the second round.
The semifinal will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday at the Fuyang Lake Water Sports Center, and will include competitors from South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and China.
In the men’s lightweight double sculls (LM2x) competition, Saudi duo Turki Al-Aarf and Sultan Al-Shali advanced to group B after finishing fifth in the second round.
Their teammate Rakan Ali Reda advanced to group C in the men’s single sculls (M1x) competition after finishing sixth in the second round.
On Friday, the Saudi table tennis team start their participation when they face the host country China at 6 pm.
The draw for the table tennis competition on Thursday placed the Saudi team in the group with China and Vietnam.
The competitions involve 20 teams in the men’s category and 18 in the women’s category.
The Saudi e-sports team held its first training session at the e-sports hall in the Jiang Hotel in Hangzhou, with 22 players taking part.
Over 6,000 journalists and 1,500 photographers have applied to cover the Asian Games. The organizing committee has set up a comprehensive media center in the Expo Ground area in downtown Hangzhou.
The center features nine large screens for broadcasting live games and can accommodate over 500 media representatives at one time. It functions for 16 hours daily, and provides news, photos, and videos in languages including Arabic, English, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Chinese.
Organizers have dedicated an area for conducting live interviews with guests.


South Korea thump Thailand 4-0 to reach Asian Games last 16

South Korea thump Thailand 4-0 to reach Asian Games last 16
Updated 21 September 2023
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South Korea thump Thailand 4-0 to reach Asian Games last 16

South Korea thump Thailand 4-0 to reach Asian Games last 16
  • Hosts China and North Korea also registered second successive wins
  • South Korea raced into a 4-0 lead by half-time at the Jinhua Sports Center stadium

HANGZHOU, China: Defending Asian Games men’s football champions South Korea became the first team into the last 16 after a 4-0 cruise past Thailand on Thursday.
Hosts China and North Korea also registered second successive wins and both need only a point from their final group games on Sunday to guarantee a place in the knockout phase.
South Korea raced into a 4-0 lead by half-time at the Jinhua Sports Center stadium via a goal apiece for Hong Hyun-seok, An Jae-jun, Um Wong-san and Lee Jae-ik.
It sparked thoughts that the gold medal winners from Jakarta in 2018 might repeat their 9-0 opening game rout of Kuwait on Tuesday, but the Thais were more resolute in the second half.
China had a sizeable crowd at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium rocking by half-time as they also went 4-0 up before the break against Myanmar.
Two goals from Long Tan and one apiece from Dai Wenjun and Wang Zhenao put them into cruise control and though they peppered the Myanmar goal in the second half they, like the South Koreans, could not add to their score.
Earlier on Thursday, India kept their last-16 hopes alive by edging Bangladesh 1-0 with a goal from 39-year-old striker Sunil Chhetri.
“I feel relief that we gave ourselves a chance to stay in the tournament,” said the veteran.
India lost their opening game 5-1 to China on Tuesday but can still go through from Group A if they beat Myanmar on Sunday.
“It wasn’t easy, playing back-to-back in two days, and in three days we have a game again. There are no excuses though as the other teams are doing the same,” Chhetri added.
“This gives us a chance of going at Myanmar and trying to qualify.”
North Korea, who are playing their first tournament since the Covid pandemic, were pushed hard by Kyrgyzstan but a 20th-minute goal from forward Kim Kuk Jin was enough to give them a 1-0 victory at the Zhejiang Normal University Stadium.
They beat Taiwan 2-0 in their opening match on Tuesday.
North Korea are competing at their first multisport event since the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.
The Asian Games officially open on Saturday but some events have begun their preliminary phase, including football.
Asian Games men’s football squads are made up of under-23 players, with three older players allowed, but the age limit has been extended to under-24 for this edition because the games were delayed by a year.