Saudi autistic youth treated to a day at Formula E races

Social responsibility programs have been supporting people with autism and their families for several years. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 06 December 2019

Saudi autistic youth treated to a day at Formula E races

  • Motorsport show offers joyful experience to youngsters

RIYADH: A group of Saudi autistic youths were treated to a day at the races as part of an initiative to raise awareness of the developmental disorder.

Accompanied by Prince Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, chairman of the Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF), the young people enjoyed watching the Formula E motorsport event.

The outing was organized by the Saudi General Sports Authority (GSA), the SAF, the Formula E team, and volunteers as part of Diriyah Season.

“We wanted to utilize Formula E to give the autistic youth a chance to enjoy it as normal people, especially that the racing cars used in Formula E are noiseless, which is perfect for people with autism,” Prince Saud said.

“We believe that people on the autism spectrum are an important segment of society and should receive appreciation, attention and care. These events bring opportunities to raise awareness about their needs in society.”

For many of the youth it was their first experience of electric car racing.

“We are grateful to Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki (Al-Faisal, GSA chairman) and the GSA for giving us a special opportunity to engage the autistic youth in such an important event, and we are equally thankful to the Formula E leadership and their team who gave us unlimited support to ensure a joyful experience for our youth,” the prince added.

Earlier this week, on the sidelines of the Diriyah Formula E, Prince Saud and Formula E chairman, Alejandro Agag, signed an agreement to build a strategic partnership between the SAF and Formula E.

“We are happy to have a positive role in Saudi society through the agreement we have signed with the SAF. As well as being a world-class sport organization, we also have our social responsibility programs that we wish to implement in Saudi Arabia,” Agag said.

The SAF and Formula E hope the strategic cooperation accord will increase opportunities to expand the role of the motorsport in terms of inclusion and reaching all segments of the Saudi population.

The SAF has been supporting people with autism and their families for more than 11 years. Prince Saud was appointed as chairman of the board in May 2019, and since then has been working on several innovative projects to develop the SAF on multiple fronts.

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Saudi assistant defense minister dies aged 68

Updated 08 August 2020

Saudi assistant defense minister dies aged 68

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s assistant minister of defense, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Ayesh, died on Friday, aged 68.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said he had been suffering from an illness.

Al-Ayesh had been appointed to the position in May 2014 having previously been commander-in-chief of the Royal Saudi Air Forces (RSAF) between 2010 and 2013.

Born in 1952 and from Jouf, he joined the RSAF in 1970 and graduated from King Faisal Air Academy as a pilot in 1972, becoming a pilot officer on F-15 fighter jets in the same year.

In 1974, he was appointed pilot officer in the 13th Squadron on Lightning interceptor aircraft and in 1982 maintained the title in the same squadron flying F-15s. Al-Ayesh attended an instructor pilot and weapons instructor course on Lightning aircraft in the UK in 1978.

He also served as the director of the RSAF Command’s plans and operations department, the commander of King Khalid Air Base, chief of RSAF operations, and deputy commander of the RSAF.

During his career, Al-Ayesh received several military medals including the King Abdul Aziz Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Legion of Merit from France, the First-Class Military Medal for Respect, and a Bronze Star from the US.