AlUla to set majestic stage for Drone Champions League Super Final

The Drone Champions League Super Final will be held in AlUla Old Town on Dec. 20 and will converge ‘technology, athleticism, and AlUla’s vision for sports and adventure.’ (Supplied)
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The Drone Champions League Super Final will be held in AlUla Old Town on Dec. 20 and will converge ‘technology, athleticism, and AlUla’s vision for sports and adventure.’ (Supplied)
AlUla to set majestic stage for Drone Champions League Super Final
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The Drone Champions League Super Final will be held in AlUla Old Town on Dec. 20 and will converge ‘technology, athleticism, and AlUla’s vision for sports and adventure.’ (Supplied)
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Updated 09 December 2023
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AlUla to set majestic stage for Drone Champions League Super Final

AlUla to set majestic stage for Drone Champions League Super Final
  • The Kingdom’s historic city will be first in GCC to host a major DCL event

JEDDAH: The Drone Champions League — billed as the “world championship for professional drone racing” — will hold its first Super Final in the heart of AlUla’s Old Town on Dec. 20.

AlUla will be the first location in the GCC to host a major DCL event, and although no physical drones will be flying there, the league said in a statement: “It will be a chance for drone sports enthusiasts to enjoy the stunning and diverse landscapes of AlUla, varying between golden canyons, lush green oasis or spectacular geological marvels.”

The league’s organizers describe it as a “global pioneer in professional virtual and real-life drone racing. With a mission to combine cutting-edge technology and stunning locations, it has created a one-of-a-kind racing series that has captivated millions around the world.”




The Drone Champions League Super Final will be held in AlUla Old Town on Dec. 20 and will converge ‘technology, athleticism, and AlUla’s vision for sports and adventure.’ (Supplied)

The DCL has rapidly gained popularity since its launch in 2016. Originally rooted in physical drone racing, DCL has evolved into a predominantly virtual format, blending hi-tec drones with the immersive world of gaming.

The annual DCL Drone Prix season features 10 teams. The competition reaches its climax with the top six teams engaging in split finals employing an elimination-style format, culminating in the DCL Super Final.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The annual DCL Drone Prix season features 10 teams.

• The league is exploring a return to real-life drone racing alongside virtual events.

The DCL has staged races in iconic locations worldwide, from the historic streets of Paris to the frozen landscapes of Norway, providing visual spectacles for the audience and challenging courses for the pilots.

“The convergence of technology, athleticism, and AlUla’s vision for sports and adventure will make this Super Final a truly exceptional and unforgettable experience,” the statement said.




Margarete Schramboeck, Aramco Digital board member

The idea to stage the Super Final in AlUla came from Margarete Schramboeck, Austria’s former minister of economy and digital affairs and a board member of Aramco Digital. Recognizing the popularity of esports in contemporary youth culture, Schramboeck felt that Saudi Arabia, more than any other nation, exemplifies this trend.

“When the DCL team approached me, presenting their world-class drone racing league and its capabilities, I immediately saw the potential for Saudi Arabia … I envisioned it as something truly exceptional,” she told Arab News.

Drones and gaming play such an important role for our next generation — they are part of digital transformation and contribute to Saudi Vision 2030.

Margarete Schramboeck, Aramco Digital board member

Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih provided immediate support for the idea when it was presented to him at the French-Saudi Business Forum earlier this year, she added, and put her in touch with Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla.

“I was so happy my idea was supported by both. I want to thank them for making it possible,” Schramboeck added.




Markus Stampfer, DCL owner

With over 50 million viewers around the world in 2023, the DCL’s appearance in AlUla will attract attention from across the globe for the UNESCO World Heritage site, giving the tech-savvy younger generation the opportunity to delve into AlUla’s cultural heritage through their passion for gaming.

“Drones and gaming play such an important role for our next generation — they are part of digital transformation and contribute to Saudi Vision 2030. I only want to do projects which provide a clear value-add to the Kingdom on multiple levels,” Schramboeck said.

By choosing AlUla, we aim to bring the essence of this extraordinary location to a global audience, shining a spotlight on its cultural and historical importance.

Markus Stampfer, DCL owner

DCL owner Markus Stampfer told Arab News in an exclusive interview: “Our roots lie in physical drone racing and engineering, but, over time, we’ve evolved into a globally accessible esports title. This transformation aligns with the trend of Tourism 3.0, where cities and regions are visualized and digitized.

“This shift has allowed a young audience to be digitally close to World Heritage sites such as the remarkable example in AlUla,” he added. “We’ve achieved our development milestones during the past years to drive this transformation and are proud to be making DCL a global sensation.”

Stampfer also revealed that the league is exploring a return to real-life drone racing alongside virtual events. Several cities have already signed on for this initiative, and there are plans to introduce physical drone racing in Saudi Arabia in 2024.

“This marks a significant step toward achieving the ultimate goal of a hybrid global racing series, seamlessly integrating both digital and real-life experiences,” he said.

Why AlUla?
AlUla has been at the forefront of sustainable development in the Kingdom through its prestigious sports and adventure offerings, hosting numerous events including the AlUla Camel Cup, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, the Saudi Tour, and, more recently, AlUla Desert Blaze.

AlUla Old Town was recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as one of the world’s Best Tourism Villages in 2022.

Stampfer emphasized that AlUla’s unique backdrop aligns perfectly with DCL’s vision: “It is a special honor to be in a place that is a World Heritage site, offering a unique backdrop that showcases the historical significance of the region. The league places great importance on cultural resonance and AlUla fits perfectly with our vision for creating a memorable and impactful event.

“By choosing AlUla, we aim to bring the essence of this extraordinary location to a global audience, shining a spotlight on its cultural and historical importance,” he added.

 

 


Indonesian pilgrim undergoes emergency surgery

Indonesian pilgrim undergoes emergency surgery
Updated 6 sec ago
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Indonesian pilgrim undergoes emergency surgery

Indonesian pilgrim undergoes emergency surgery
  • Makkah Health Cluster said that the patient was transferred to the hospital by a medical convoy suffering from internal bleeding due to a duodenal ulcer
  • He was assessed immediately and transferred to the operation room on the Day of Arafat, where treatment was completed

MAKKAH: Medical staff at East Arafat Hospital performed emergency surgery on an 80-year-old Indonesian pilgrim suffering from internal bleeding due to a duodenal ulcer.

Makkah Health Cluster said that the patient was transferred to the hospital by a medical convoy, allowing the pilgrim to perform his Hajj rituals and complete a treatment plan.

The cluster said that that patient was suffering from severe bleeding and anemia, and that his condition was unstable. He was assessed immediately and transferred to the operation room on the Day of Arafat, where treatment was completed.

The patient’s condition became stable and he remains in the inpatient ward for recovery.


The bittersweet moment when pilgrims bid farewell to Makkah after Hajj

The bittersweet moment when pilgrims bid farewell to Makkah after Hajj
Updated 39 min 59 sec ago
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The bittersweet moment when pilgrims bid farewell to Makkah after Hajj

The bittersweet moment when pilgrims bid farewell to Makkah after Hajj
  • Pilgrims offer their final prayers and make their way to the airport, leaving behind the place where they have felt the deepest connection to their faith
  • Kuwaiti Sami Al-Qahtani: Having gone through Hajj myself, I can say that the emotions experienced are beyond words

MINA: It is a time of overwhelming emotion – the moment when pilgrims finish their Hajj journey and must bid farewell to the holy city of Makkah.

They offer their final prayers and make their way to the airport, leaving behind the place where they have felt the deepest connection to their faith.

The unity and camaraderie they have shared with other pilgrims, the hardships they have endured, and the profound sense of peace and tranquility they have found in Makkah — all contribute to the sadness of saying goodbye.

Ishfaq Al-Hassan, from Pakistan, told Arab News: “Being in this place has made me feel incredible, and anyone who has a connection to Allah (God) and Prophet Muhammad — peace be upon him — should witness this beauty, and visit this holy place again and again.”

As he left for home, Al-Hassan said the sense of spiritual fulfillment and closeness to God he felt during Hajj would linger in his heart.

“I pray that Allah grants the entire Muslim Ummah (community) the ability to come here and unite. I ask God to eliminate the shortcomings of Muslims and resolve any difficulties they may be encountering in life.”

Kuwaiti Sami Al-Qahtani told Arab News: “Having gone through Hajj myself, I can say that the emotions experienced are beyond words.”

He added it was truly a divine blessing from God that he could be there to perform Hajj for a second time.

A pilgrim from the Philippines called Haris said he was grateful to God that he was able to perform Hajj. He added he had sad emotions as he remembered the loss of his parents during his pilgrimage.

“I hope for Allah to place them in heaven,” he said.

It is with mixed emotions that these pilgrims board their flights home. While full of gratitude for the opportunity to perform Hajj, they also feel a longing to return to a place that has left an indelible mark on their souls.


Pilgrims complete rituals at Kaaba on second day of Tashreeq

Pilgrims complete rituals at Kaaba on second day of Tashreeq
Updated 18 June 2024
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Pilgrims complete rituals at Kaaba on second day of Tashreeq

Pilgrims complete rituals at Kaaba on second day of Tashreeq

DUBAI: Pilgrims at the Kaaba completed the stoning of the three Jamarat on the second day of Tashreeq on Tuesday.

They began with the smallest, Jamrat Al-Oula, then the middle, Jamrat Al-Wusta, and finally Jamrat Al-Aqaba.

Pilgrims then headed to perform the Farewell Tawaf at the Kaaba before returning to their residences in Mina.


Ministry of Interior hosts families of killed or injured service personnel during Hajj

Ministry of Interior hosts families of killed or injured service personnel during Hajj
Updated 18 June 2024
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Ministry of Interior hosts families of killed or injured service personnel during Hajj

Ministry of Interior hosts families of killed or injured service personnel during Hajj

RIYADH: Saudi’s rulers have hosted the families of military personnel who were killed or injured in the line of duty, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Maj. Gen. Dr. Suleiman bin Abdulaziz Al-Maiman, Ministry of Interior undersecretary for military affairs, said 289 pilgrims from families of martyred or injured personnel had been welcomed during this year’s Hajj season.

Every effort was made to ensure the guests had comfort, peace of mind and as much ease as possible in performing their rituals, added the report.


Ministry of Health helpline receives more than 47,000 calls during Hajj 

Ministry of Health helpline receives more than 47,000 calls during Hajj 
Updated 18 June 2024
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Ministry of Health helpline receives more than 47,000 calls during Hajj 

Ministry of Health helpline receives more than 47,000 calls during Hajj 
  • Staff at the center handle health inquiries, offer medical consultations and help find missing or hospitalized pilgrims at the holy sites

RIYADH: More than 47,000 calls have been received by the Saudi Ministry of Health’s 937 call center since the start of Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Staff at the center handle health inquiries, offer medical consultations and help find missing or hospitalized pilgrims at the holy sites.

They can deal with reports in seven different languages and a team of administrative staff, specialists and consultants are available around the clock to offer advice and support.

Pilgrims can contact the center through a number of channels, including by telephone at 937 and via WhatsApp and X.