Riyadh’s Sports Boulevard to positively impact residents’ fitness culture, survey reveals

Riyadh’s Sports Boulevard to positively impact residents’ fitness culture, survey reveals
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Updated 26 December 2023
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Riyadh’s Sports Boulevard to positively impact residents’ fitness culture, survey reveals

Riyadh’s Sports Boulevard to positively impact residents’ fitness culture, survey reveals

JEDDAH: In a survey conducted by Sports Boulevard, the exercise habits and attitudes of Riyadh residents have been unveiled for the first time, providing valuable insights into the city’s fitness landscape.

The Riyadh Sports Index, based on responses from 1,000 residents, sheds light on the enthusiasm for fitness among the capital’s population.

The survey revealed that a significant portion of Riyadh’s residents are actively engaged in physical activity, with 49 percent exercising at least twice a week.

A positive sign for the city’s health, 43 percent express enjoyment in exercise but express a desire to do more. However, the survey highlights that 76 percent feel they still do not engage in enough physical activity, with 46 percent expressing a wish to exercise more frequently.

Several barriers to regular exercise were identified, with respondents citing a lack of time (45 percent), unfavorable weather conditions (39 percent), and the cost of gym memberships (36 percent).

Moreover, 18 percent of those surveyed indicated that easier access to facilities would motivate them to exercise more.

As development progresses on the Sports Boulevard, poised to become the world’s largest urban linear park, spanning over 135 km and connecting Wadi Hanifah to Wadi Al-Sulai, the survey underscored the potential transformative impact on the city’s sports culture.

Over 50 state-of-the-art sporting facilities are set to be created, addressing the current challenges related to accessibility and promoting grassroots sports.

Currently, only 11 percent of respondents live within 1 km of a sports facility, highlighting the need for increased access. The Sports Boulevard aims to revolutionize the city’s landscape, providing safe, green, and shaded pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse-riders.

This initiative is expected to encourage residents and visitors alike to embrace a better sports routine, fostering a healthier and more active community.

Jayne McGivern, CEO of the Sports Boulevard Foundation, said: “For the first time, this survey shines a light on how the people of Riyadh exercise and play sport, and more importantly, how they want to stay fit, healthy, and connected to each other.

“Our first Riyadh Sports Index perfectly demonstrates how the Sports Boulevard will overcome barriers to exercise and deliver for the city’s residents and visitors, transforming the landscape and people’s lives within it, and welcoming a new era of sports and well-being for all.”

Two residents of Riyadh, eagerly anticipating the completion of the Sports Boulevard, shared their excitement and positive outlook on how the project will impact the city.

Asrar Al-Shumrani, a Riyadh resident who works at Prince Sultan Military Medical City, told Arab News: “The Sports Boulevard is a game-changer for us. With more facilities and accessible spaces, I am excited to incorporate regular exercise into my routine. It’s not just about fitness; it’s about community and well-being.”

Mansour Al-Enazy, another resident, shared his optimism, saying: “I believe the Sports Boulevard will redefine our approach to sports and fitness. The diverse range of facilities will cater to different interests, making it easier for everyone to find an activity they enjoy. This project will undoubtedly elevate Riyadh’s sports culture.”

The survey identified walking (63 percent), running (47 percent), and football (44 percent) as the most popular sporting activities among Riyadh residents. The majority (74 percent) cited improving physical health as their motivation for staying fit, while 53 percent acknowledged the mental health benefits of exercise.

With 36 percent of respondents going to the gym and 24 percent cycling, the city’s diverse fitness interests are evident.

Launched by King Salman in March 2019 and supported by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, the Sports Boulevard aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.

As a mega project, it contributes to making Riyadh one of the top 10 cities globally by 2030, emphasizing the importance of health, well-being, and community connectivity in achieving this vision.


KSrelief launches training program for orphan supervisors in Yemen

KSrelief launches training program for orphan supervisors in Yemen
Updated 7 sec ago
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KSrelief launches training program for orphan supervisors in Yemen

KSrelief launches training program for orphan supervisors in Yemen

Riyadh: The Saudi aid agency KSrelief has started a training program for people supervising orphans in Yemen’s coastal area of Hadramout in coordination with the country’s ministry of social affairs and labor.

The initiative is part of the agency’s Sanad for Orphans project to “enhance the efficiency and capabilities of orphan supervisors through skills development, knowledge enhancement, and practical behavioral training,” the Saudi Press Agency said.

It will also cover practices related to orphan protection and care.

The Sanad project provides social, educational and economic empowerment programs for orphans and their families. As part of this initiative, a training program will be provided for 30 social supervisors from organizations working in orphan care in Hadramout and Taiz governorates.


Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector

Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector
Updated 13 July 2024
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Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector

Skill meets heritage in initiative boosting Saudi handicrafts sector
  • Saudi Artisanal Company is ‘leveraging the country’s cultural wealth to empower local artisans’

JEDDAH/RIYADH: The Saudi Artisanal Company is playing a central role in the development of Saudi Arabia’s flourishing handicrafts sector — a reminder of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and commitment to honoring its traditions.

According to the company’s acting CEO, Ibrahim Al-Dulaijan, the SAC is “leveraging the country’s cultural wealth to empower Saudi artisans, build sustainable partnerships, and deliver Saudi-crafted goods that are an integral part of the nation’s legacy.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

“The company not only supports its skilled local artisans but also equips them with the latest technologies to create their pieces blending heritage, tradition, and innovation.”

Al-Dulaijan told Arab News in a written statement: “Empowering local artisans and designers is a key element of the company’s operations. We have activated a strategic partnership with the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, through which practical training is provided for artisans, offering them practical and profitable opportunities in the artisanal field.”

HIGHLIGHT

Saudi Artisanal Company’s strategic partnership with the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts provides practical training to artisans.

Part of the training includes extensive research on the history and cultural significance of various products.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

“The team believes in the importance of preserving heritage and reviving and empowering crafts approved by the Heritage Authority. This belief is reflected in the communication, implementation, and supervision processes with artisans and designers.” Al-Dulaijan added.

The resulting products “reflect genuine heritage” and “tell enriching stories,” he said.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

During a recent visit to the company’s studio in Riyadh’s JAX district, Arab News witnessed some of these skilled artisans at work. Each of them has dedicated years to perfecting their craft, whether working with wool, wicker, wood, plaster, or engraving.

Abeer Al-Rabiah, the product design manager at the company, spoke to Arab News about her background and approach to design.

We aim to enhance our culture, preserve our identity, and pass on our heritage to future generations.

Sadiq Al-Hajri, Artisan supervisor, Saudi Artisanal Company

Growing up in an artistic household, she was surrounded by art and design but also had a strong interest in science. Al-Rabiah felt torn between these passions until discovering industrial design, which combines elements of both.

The Saudi Khawlani coffee collection, a piece that celebrates Saudi coffee, was one of the award-winning products featured in their studio. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

She emphasized that product design is not just about creating beautiful objects but also about considering their functionality and manufacturability.

Al-Rabiah highlighted the responsibility designers have toward the environment, especially when creating products for mass production.

“Handmade products are a lot more sustainable and eco-friendly than products designed in factories,” she said. “This is the main thing that drew me into the crafts field — the materials used, usually natural materials. You’re not using an entire factory that’s producing a lot of toxins into the environment.

Sadiq Al-Hajri, the artisan’s supervisor showcased the steadiness and intricate carving techniques perfected by the artisans. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

“We do a lot of research before making every product and try to connect our history, culture, and heritage into the design,” she added. “Every product that we make either has a story or a meaning that is related to our heritage and culture. The fact that the products are handmade by Saudi hands, with crafts that have been in the region for years, also connects it to our heritage.

“We try to highlight parts of our heritage that are kind of forgotten or not widely talked about. A good example would be our Khawlani coffee collection. The Arabian Peninsula had a Golden Age when coffee was produced here and sent throughout the entire world.”

Many of the craftsman at the Saudi Artisan Company dedicate hours of their day carving, weaving, and designing products that highlight the Kingdoms culture and heritage. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

The collection is an award-winning piece that celebrates Saudi coffee. The 3D-modeled cover and hand-crafted wooden box reflect the mountainous terrains of the coffee-producing regions of the Kingdom, specifically Mount Talan.

Inside the box sit two porcelain coffee cups inspired by coffee fruits, along with coffee capsules filled with a blend of espresso and Saudi Khawlani coffee.

Saudi Artisanal Company equips skilled local artisans with the latest technologies to create their pieces. (AN photos by Loai Al-Kellawy)

The Khawlani coffee collection won Best Luxury Item at the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism Awards earlier this year, while the dates bowls collection won Best Contemporary Interpretation and Design.

“It’s a global award that we’re very proud of,” Al-Rabiah added.

The craftsman at the Saudi Artisan Company dedicate their careers to preserving and showcasing the Saudi heritage through their handmade products. (AN photo by Loai El-kellawy)

The SAC also has an online store offering more than 100 products, with local and international shipping options available.

“The company also participates in certain seasons and events. For example, we displayed artisans’ products during this year’s Hajj season,” Al-Dulaijan said. “Additionally, we’ll be opening stores in several cities in the Kingdom to serve citizens, residents, and tourists by providing high-quality artisanal products, supporting local products, and empowering local artisans and designers.”

Fatima Al-Thubyani, production unit manager at the company’s workshop, has eight years of experience in the field of handicrafts and an academic background in fashion design.

Al-Thubyani told Arab News, “To support the emerging generation, we use modern materials paired with traditional heritage patterns, creating contemporary and innovative outcomes. This approach integrates designers and artisans, providing sustainable job opportunities.”

The company invites artisans and designers from all over the Kingdom to collaborate, whether by showcasing their products on various sales platforms, participating in training programs, or working on business opportunities together. This mutual collaboration provides sustainable income sources for them and is, the company says, “pivotal in driving a significant transformation in the artisanal sector.”

Sadiq Al-Hajri, the artisan’s supervisor, who has more than 14 years of experience in the field, said: “We aim to enhance our culture, preserve our identity, and pass on our heritage to future generations. We strive to convey what our ancestors were, what we have added, and what the next generation will add.

“My interest in handicraft industries began at a young age, specifically with wood carving. Through workshops, I aim to demonstrate to artisans how an artisan as an artist differs from an artisan as a producer. We work to value artisans by providing the necessary tools to achieve outstanding work.”

The SAC has participated in numerous local and international events and exhibitions, such as the Artigiano in Fiera exhibition in Italy and the Benan exhibition in the Kingdom. International participation is a “significant focus” for the near future, according to Al-Dulaijan, in order to “introduce Saudi heritage to the world.”

 


Natural beauty of Baha’s Raghadan Park attracts visitors

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)
Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)
Updated 13 July 2024
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Natural beauty of Baha’s Raghadan Park attracts visitors

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)
  • Mayor welcomes tourists to popular location

RIYADH: With its vast green spaces, dense forest and mild climate, Raghadan Park is among Baha’s most popular destinations for tourists looking for outdoor fun.

In an interview with the Saudi Press Agency, Ali Al-Sawat, the mayor of the Baha region, spoke of the municipal projects within Raghadan Forest Park.

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

He said: “These projects encompass Bahjat Raghadan Park, which spans an estimated 20,000 sq. meters, (with a) 700-meter main walkway, and 18,000 sq. meters of green spaces.

“The park also boasts a 30-meter waterfall, an interactive fountain, 156 decorative columns, three children’s areas, three photography zones, and a 25-meter decorative pedestrian bridge.”

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

The site, which includes cafes and eateries, also boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters, he added.

The central square covers 8,000 sq. meters and is connected to the garden, which occupies some 5,000 sq. meters. Adjacent to it is a 500-meter walkway covered with natural stone and featuring waterfalls.

Raghadan Park in Baha boasts a forest with a lavender garden and a central area which spans over 20,000 sq. meters. (SPA)

The project is illuminated by about 270 decorative lighting poles and includes statues, flower beds, seating areas, wooden bridges, and kiosks.

The mayor welcomes tourists and visitors to the location to enjoy its atmosphere, stunning views, valleys, and lush vegetation.

 


Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai

Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai
Updated 13 July 2024
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Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai

Saudi ambassador to UAE received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai
  • Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of UAE, wished ambassador success in his mission

DUBAI: Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum received the Saudi ambassador to the UAE Sultan bin Abdullah Al-Angari on Saturday during a reception in the emirate, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of UAE, wished the ambassador success in his mission.

Al-Angari passed on the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Sheikh Mohammed, along with their wishes for continued progress and prosperity to the government and people of the UAE.

The envoy was appointed last year and presented his credentials to Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al-Nahyan in October.


Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people

Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people
Updated 14 July 2024
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Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people

Saudi foreign ministry condemns continued genocide against Palestinian people
  • Saudi Arabia renewed its call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the provision of protection to unarmed civilians

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed on Saturday the Kingdom’s condemnation and denunciation in the strongest terms of the “continued genocidal massacres against the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli war machine.”

The ministry drew particular attention to the latest targeting of displaced Palestinians at camps in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of 100 people.

Saudi Arabia renewed its call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the provision of protection to unarmed civilians in all occupied Palestinian territories.

The ministry also stressed the need to activate international accountability mechanisms regarding the continued Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and resolutions.

The UAE and Bahrain condemned and denounced on Sunday the continuing Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip, and the most recent targeting of camps for displaced people in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, which led to numerous deaths and injuries to dozens of innocent civilians.

In a statements issued by both foreign ministries, they called for the respect of international law and international humanitarian law regarding the protection of civilians and civilian objects, an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and to allow unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale directly to Palestinian civilians

Also on Saturday, the Muslim World League condemned the massacre in Khan Yunis.

The League’s Secretary-General, Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, in a statement denounced the “heinous crime” and the Israeli occupation’s “continued flagrant violations of all international and humanitarian laws and norms.”

Al-Issa stressed the urgent need for the international community to intervene to stop the violence raging in Gaza.