Fears Dakar Rally could overshadow Hail racing event

Driver Siarhei Viazovich, of Belarus, and co-drivers Anton Zaparoshchanka, of Belarus, and Pavel Haranin, of Belarus, race their MAZ truck during stage five of the Dakar Rally between Al Ula and Hail in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 9, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 10 January 2020

Fears Dakar Rally could overshadow Hail racing event

  • The international event, run in the Kingdom’s northern desert

HAIL: As the dust settled after Dakar Rally competitors on Thursday roared into Hail, there were fears that the world-famous race could overshadow the Saudi city’s own prestigious motoring event.
Hail, and its population of more than 1.2 million people, has played host to the Hail Nissan International Rally — the first of its kind to be staged in Saudi Arabia — since 2006.
The international event, run in the Kingdom’s northern desert, was approved by the Paris-based International Automobile Federation (FIA) in 2008 and over the years has been a major tourism money-spinner for the Hail region.
But there were mixed feelings among motor racing fans in the city over the future of the event in Hail when up against the competition of the Dakar Rally.
Private sector worker, Mansour Al-Khateeb, told Arab News that the Dakar Rally would add value to Hail’s international race.
“When the competitors come here and see the attractive landscape of the Nafud Desert, they won’t hesitate to take part in the Hail rally in its future editions, especially if they know that it has become an international racing event.”
Al-Khateeb added that Hail’s 1,300-km rally had gained global popularity through the participation of a large number of local and international contestants.
“In addition to the FIA, the Hail rally organizers have also succeeded in getting unlimited support from various local authorities including the General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.”
He pointed out that the Dakar Rally was an addition to the city and would serve as an important advertising campaign for Hail on different levels.
But Abdurrahman Al-Shammari, a retired Health Ministry employee, felt the Dakar event could represent a threat to the future of the Hail rally. “I fear Dakar occurring in Hail could negatively influence the popularity of the Hail rally on an international level.” He suggested the Hail rally should be part of the Dakar in one of its stages — a race within a longer rally, especially with the two competitions taking place in the same period of the year.
“Top local drivers are taking part in the Dakar, and this can affect their participation in the Hail rally. Unless the officials of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF) discuss this idea or a similar one with the Dakar organizers, the Hail rally is feared to gradually lose its glow,” Al-Shammari added.


38k people register with Saudi national distance learning platform in 10 days

Updated 31 March 2020

38k people register with Saudi national distance learning platform in 10 days

  • The quality of the programs had contributed to increasing the number of enrollees, says director

JEDDAH: The number of people who registered with the Saudi e-training platform (Doroob) between March 16 and 26, across 365 various programs, has reached 38,000.

The director for the development of training programs at the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) and supervisor of Doroob, Mohammed Al-Shuwaier, said the training programs had been designed to promote distance learning and provide needed experience in all fields and specializations required by the labor market, in line with the governmental precautionary and preventive measures to fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Al-Shuwaier noted that the quality of the programs had contributed to increasing the number of enrollees, with more than 3,500 people befitting from the interactive training sessions broadcast last week on Doroob.

Nahla Abul-ula, an HR expert, said companies in Saudi Arabia had been encouraging employees to benefit from online training opportunities for a long time through state-supported platforms like Doroob or through independent educational platforms.

“However, the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has made people more accepting of such modern means in order to keep pace with the accelerating life events,” the HR business partner at IKEA said.

“We will definitely see an increasing reliance on e-learning options in the coming period if the crisis continues,” she said.

E-learning is an individual effort, where learners seek to obtain information by themselves and employ the acquired skills to develop their abilities and experiences. Abul-ula considers virtual learning no less effective than classroom learning.

She said that employees and job seekers’ focus on development in this critical time will not only allow them to grow and take advantage of free time in their schedule but “will also give them better opportunities after the crisis is over.”

Doroob was launched by HADAF as part of the training and qualification programs aimed at developing the skills of students, job seekers and those wishing to be promoted in their jobs, to increase participation in the private sector and help job seekers find suitable opportunities. 

Doroob is an integrated program that provides e-training programs and certification upon completion of requirements.

To register for the e-training courses, interested people can log on to doroob.sa.