Formula E event shows world what Saudi Arabia is capable of: GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz

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Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
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Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
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Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year and this year the event takes place on Nov. 22 and 23. (Supplied: Diriyah Season)
Updated 22 November 2019

Formula E event shows world what Saudi Arabia is capable of: GSA chairman Prince Abdulaziz

  • Chairman said Saudi Arabia can be a regional leader in promoting electronic motorsport
  • Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year

RIYADH: The hosting of Formula E has been a turning point for Saudi Arabia and has shown what the Kingdom is capable of, according to the chairman of the General Sports Authority.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaking ahead of the new season of motor racing that features battery powered cars, said last year’s inaugural event in the Kingdom was a platform for other achievements in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform program.
“Last year was a turning point for Saudi Arabia on many levels, we saw women driving, movie theaters pop up and so much more,” he said.
“This all paved the way to host events such as Formula E, through this event, we launched the first tourist visas and welcomed 80 different nationalities to the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia was awarded the hosting rights for a stop on the Formula E championship last year.
The all-electric racing series, which began in 2014, aims to provide a platform for new technologies for electric vehicles.
Saudi Arabia hosted its first race in December last year and this year the event takes place on Nov. 22 and 23 at the Diriyah Circuit set inside a UNESCO World Heritage site in Riyadh.
“The whole world saw what we are capable of as a nation, remembering as well we were building it all from scratch,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
“The results showed that our capabilities exceeded not only the Middle East standards, but we also shined as one of the best Formula E rounds of the season.”
The chairman said Saudi Arabia can be a regional leader in promoting electronic motorsport.
“I think Saudi Arabia and Formula E benefit each other very well, the country provides a great platform for Formula E’s message of being eco (friendly) throughout the entire region,” he said.
“The Middle East is new to the concept of electric motorsport and the race in Diriyah helped amplify that message.”
The prince said the number of the tourists visiting the Kingdom for the event was good for the country, but was also pleased with interest in the sport from Saudis and its impact on the country.
“We have seen a rise in the number of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia for such events and our ambition is for the world to see Saudi as a welcoming destination for sports business and entertainment,” he said.
“The people in Saudi Arabia have embraced the sport rather quickly, and we have seen how the tickets sold out last year, the demand was much higher than the supply — this year we believe two rounds are adequate for the market.
“The benefits of hosting such events a numerous, we have seen an increase in job creation both directly and indirectly and these types of events are good in catalyzing the economy.”
The prince said Formula E is just a small part of the government’s sporting vision to inspire young Saudis. The Kingdom will host heavyweight boxing, tennis and golf events as well as the upcoming Saudi Cup horse race.
“Hopefully soon, we can also see Saudi citizens competing and becoming champions in each and everyone one of these sports,” he said.


Sensational Fury crushes Wilder in heavyweight title rematch

Updated 24 min 36 sec ago

Sensational Fury crushes Wilder in heavyweight title rematch

  • Britain’s Fury dominated the American champion Deontay Wilder
  • The fight drew a star-studded crowd

LAS VEGAS: Tyson Fury reigns again as a heavyweight world champion after battering Deontay Wilder to a stunning seventh-round stoppage in their World Boxing Council title rematch.
Fourteen months after their dramatic split-decision draw, Britain’s Fury dominated the American champion — who had blood dripping from his left ear and leaking from his mouth when referee Kenny Bayless called a halt as Wilder’s corner threw in the towel.
“The king has returned to the top of the throne,” said Fury, who had dropped Wilder in the third and fifth rounds as he remained unbeaten while handing Wilder the first defeat of his career.
The self-styled “Gypsy King” from northern England — who was carried to the Las Vegas ring on a golden throne — had put on a boxing masterclass in their first fight on December 1, 2018, but he was clearly ready to brawl from the opening bell on Saturday.
A massive right from Fury knocked down Wilder in the third leaving him on wobbly legs and although he went down again moments later it was ruled a slip.
A huge left to the body had Wilder down again in the fifth, and Fury was raining blows on Wilder when Bayless called a halt at 1:39 of the seventh round after one of Wilder’s corner team hurled a white towel into the ring to save him from further punishment.
A point deduction in the fifth round for holding was barely a blip for a dominant Fury. Two of the judges had the Briton winning every round, while the third judge gave one round to Wilder.
The 34-year-old American suffered his first defeat in 44 fights, falling to 42-1 with 1 drawn and 41 knockouts.
The “Bronze Bomber” was unable to surpass Muhammad Ali’s record of 10 successful heavyweight title defenses.
“Even the greatest have lost and come back,” Wilder said. “I make no excuses. This is what big-time boxing is all about.”
Fury regained a piece of the heavyweight title more than four years after beating Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and WBO belts — and after depression, drink and drug problems had threatened to end his career.
“I just want to say a big shout out to Deontay Wilder,” said Fury, who improved his own unbeaten record to 30-0 with one drawn and 21 knockouts. “He manned up. he really did show heart of a champion.
“I hit him with a clean right hand and dropped him, and he got back up and battled on into round seven.
“He is a warrior, he will be back, he will be champion again.”
As the pro-Fury crowd of 15,816 at the MGM Grand cheered, Wilder briefly protested the stoppage.
“I just wish that my corner would have let me went out on my shield,” he said. “I’m a warrior.”
Wilder’s fierce punching power had been on full display when he knocked Fury down twice in their first fight in Los Angeles — the Briton miraculously climbing off the canvas in the 12th round to hang on for a share of the spoils.
With new trainer Javan “Sugarhill” Steward in his corner, and more than 16 pounds heavier than the first encounter at 273 pounds, Fury was on the attack early, backing Wilder up with his jab and landing several hard shots in the opening round.
Fury failed to produce the second-round knockout he had predicted, but he was clearly in control.
The fight, arguably the biggest heavyweight collision since Lennox Lewis bludgeoned Mike Tyson into submission on the banks of the Mississippi River in 2002, drew a star-studded crowd.
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes was ringside, so were Mark Davis, owner of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and Raiders coach John Gruden.
Retired NBA greats Magic Johnson and Jerry West were on hand, as was current Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green.
Former heavyweight world champions Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield were acknowledged in the ring before the bout — a nod to the fact that boxing’s one-time glamor division was back in the spotlight.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN that with gate receipts of $16.9 million Saturday’s fight broke the record for a heavyweight fight in Las Vegas, passing the $16.8 million set by the title rematch between Lewis and Holyfield in 1999.
It’s a far cry from the record $72.2 million in gate receipts generated by the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao clash in 2015.
But Wilder-Fury III would be another big draw — and set the stage for a mega unification fight against Britain’s Anthony Joshua, the WBA IBF and WBO champion, for the undisputed title.

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