First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
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Updated 13 June 2024
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First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports

First Saudi pro boxer hails Kingdom’s rise as major force in global sports
  • Ziyad Al-Maayouf tells the Mayman Show by Arab News he hopes he can inspire more young Saudis to take up the sport and follow in his footsteps
  • In the absence of any local boxing heroes from the Kingdom when starting out, he says he looked to Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao for inspiration

Riyadh: Saudi professional boxer Ziyad Al-Maayouf is proud that the Kingdom is establishing itself as a major force on the global sports stage.

During an interview with the Mayman Show by Arab News, the 23-year-old also spoke of his hopes that he is only the first of many professional boxers from Saudi Arabia, and told how his journey as a professional boxer began in 2010.

“It really started for me when one day I Googled ‘professional Saudi boxer.’ I found no one,” he said, adding that he then searched for just “Saudi boxer” and still found no results.

This is important, he added, because young people who aspire to careers in sports naturally look to their idols for inspiration.

“It’s even a lot better when your idols are people you can relate to, where your superheroes are people you could relate to,” he said.

But when Al-Maayouf went looking for someone with whom he could closely identify to inspire him in his boxing career he could not find anyone from his country.

“That’s where I said, OK, I think this is where I want to start competing,” he said. “I want to be the guy who, when you Google ‘professional boxer from Saudi Arabia,’ he comes up; and, you know, little did I know, the stars were aligning in the way they did.”

Al-Maayouf said he is very pleased to see sports initiatives form such an important part of Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s national development and diversification plan.

“The sport they choose to invest in the most, and powerfully, powerfully, like that, is boxing,” he said. “And then behind the scenes, there is a Saudi boxer that’s been training for over a decade, preparing and waiting for a moment like that. So I always say that my career aligns exactly with Vision 2030, you know?”

In the absence of any local heroes, Al-Maayouf said he has been greatly inspired by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, in part because of what the fighter means to the people of his native country.

“The way that he is to the Philippines, they look at him as if he’s come from the sky,” he said. “It's like he is something else for them there. It is like he’s a prophet there (for) what he was for the Philippines, how he carried that weight on his back and how much he achieved while doing so.”

Al-Maayouf said he can relate to Pacquiao’s journey as a boxer who moved alone to another country to train, leaving his family and friends behind. He also respects the legendary fighter’s achievements outside of the ring, in particular his efforts to help promote his country and community.

“How he helped his people, how he introduced the world to the Philippines, you know?” he said. “And he was always announced as ‘the fighting pride of the Philippines.’ So I always wanted to be announced as ‘the fighting pride of Saudi Arabia,’ you know? ‘The fighting pride of the Arab world.’”

Inspired by Pacquiao, Al-Maayouf trained at the Filipino fighter’s gym when he moved to the US in 2019 to pursue his studies, majoring in psychology.

“I only applied to universities in Los Angeles because that’s where Pacquiao was,” he said. “That’s where Pacquiao’s gym was. That’s where his coach was. I wanted to go where Pacquiao did, so I did exactly that.

“On Aug. 4, 2019, I arrived in LA; on Aug. 5, I was in Pacquiao’s gym, training. And ever since, I could maybe count the weeks on my hand that I took off from training since 2019. Because when I moved, I realized that the decade I had been training before went out the window because, you know, we didn’t have the IQ, the knowledge.”

The Kingdom was still learning about boxing during that time, he said, and the sport was rarely even broadcast on TV.

“So the levels were completely different,” Al-Maayouf added. “I stayed there for a lot of years, just getting a beating every single day.”


Djibouti PM receives Saudi deputy foreign minister

Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed receives Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday. (SPA)
Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed receives Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 38 min 30 sec ago
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Djibouti PM receives Saudi deputy foreign minister

Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed receives Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday. (SPA)
  • During the meeting with Mohamed, Al-Khuraiji reviewed relations between Djibouti and Saudi Arabia
  • Topics of common interest were also discussed

RIYADH: Djibouti’s Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed received the Kingdom’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji on Thursday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, the officials reviewed relations between the two countries and discussed topics of common interest.

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji meets with Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssef on Thursday. (SPA)Caption

Al-Khuraiji was also received by Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssef on Thursday.

The minister is in the country to attend the second consultative meeting on enhancing the coordination of peace initiatives and efforts in Sudan.

Al-Khuraiji later met with Minister of State at the UAE Foreign Ministry Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan on the sidelines of the meeting. 

Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji meets with Minister of State at the UAE Foreign Ministry Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan. (SPA)

 


Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army

Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army
Updated 25 July 2024
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Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army

Chinese Embassy celebrates 97th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army

RIYADH: The Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia hosted a reception on Wednesday in Riyadh’s Cultural Palace to mark the 97th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

“We would like to use this opportunity to celebrate not only our history, but also the history of military and security cooperation between Saudi Arabia and China,” said Zhu Je, the armed defense attache at the Chinese Embassy.

In an interview with Arab News, Zhu recalled Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman’s June visit to Beijing, where he met his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun.

Zhu described the meeting between the two ministers as “a milestone in the new era.”

He told Arab News: “This is the first time that he visited China to meet with the Chinese minister of defense and also the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission.

“The ministers decided to continue to deepen bilateral cooperation in defense and military areas, strengthen strategic communication between the leaderships, and to elevate the relationship to a higher level.”

The defense attache highlighted the importance of the meeting, in which Prince Khalid and his Chinese counterpart reviewed Saudi-Chinese relations and ways to strengthen ties.

The People’s Liberation Army anniversary reception welcomed defense officials and ambassadors based in the Kingdom.

Chinese Ambassador Chang Hua hosted the event alongside Zhu and welcomed guests to the reception.

Zhu delivered the opening remarks and highlighted the “strategic friendly cooperation” between the Kingdom and China’s defense ministries.

“China firmly supports Saudi Arabia to strengthen its strategic capacities for safeguarding its national security, and resolutely opposes any external interference in the Kingdom’s internal affairs,” he said.

China aims to “facilitate the reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the unity between Palestinian parties, to support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain stability, restore peace and protect civilians in the region and in the world,” he added.

Zhu thanked the Kingdom for its support, saying: “I once again express our sincerest gratitude and respects to the leaders, government, armed forces, security forces and people of Saudi Arabia.”

He also praised the Saudi ministries of defense, interior and National Guard, as well as his embassy colleagues.


KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees

KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees
Updated 25 July 2024
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KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees

KSrelief celebrates Youth Skills Day at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief’s Center for Community Service celebrated International Youth Skills Day at the Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The center held a special ceremony for the occasion, including various activities highlighting the skills of young people in the community and an awareness lecture to encourage women to develop their talents and capabilities, join training courses, and work with organizations to acquire new skills and experiences.


KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan

KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan
Updated 25 July 2024
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KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan

KSrelief provides shelter kits for thousands of displaced in Sudan
  • There were 400 shelter bags delivered in Blue Nile state, benefiting 2,300 people, and 590 were delivered in the Northern State, helping 3,240 individuals

RIYADH: Saudi aid agency KSrelief has distributed nearly 1,000 shelter kits across Sudan to families most in need, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday.
There were 400 shelter bags delivered in Blue Nile state, benefiting 2,300 people, and 590 were delivered in the Northern State, helping 3,240 individuals.
The assistance is part of the humanitarian and relief efforts provided by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to support countries and people in need worldwide.


Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition

Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition
Updated 25 July 2024
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Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition

Saudi maths students scoop 10 awards at international competition
  • Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal Al-Hazaa said the victory was a source of pride for the entire nation

RIYADH: Saudi maths students scooped 10 awards, fending off strong competition from 38 countries, in the 36th annual Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Wednesday.

The Saudi team, represented by the King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) and the Education Ministry, won two silver medals, five bronze, and three certificates of commendation against 345 other students.

Youssef Bakheet from the educational directorate of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, and Muath Al-Qahtani from the Eastern Province, received the silver medals.

The bronze medals were awarded to Mohammed Al-Ghamdi and Ilyas Al-Faraj from the Eastern Province, Ahmed Al-Shahri from Riyadh, Fatima Bouali from Al-Ahsa and Ahmed Khalawi from Jeddah.

The certificates of commendation were awarded to Mohammed Hafez and Abdul Salam Al-Salmi from Madinah, as well as Youssef Khalawi from Jeddah.

Mawhiba Secretary-General Amal Al-Hazaa said the victory was a source of pride for the entire nation.

The participation at APMO was part of the Mawhiba program for international Olympiads, which is held in strategic partnership with the Education Ministry.

It is one of 20 programs and initiatives that offer advanced curricula and enrichment programs provided annually by Mawhiba and the ministry for talented students.