Medal tally reaches 369 on 9th day of Saudi Games 2023

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Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s vice president and the games’ director, awarding Al-Riyadh’s Hani Al-Nakhli a gold medal in the men’s paralympic discus throw. (Supplied)
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Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, the Saudi Games’ deputy director, presented the gold medal to the Al-Nassr basketball team after they won the 3x3 men’s basketball competition at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex’s fan zone. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 December 2023

Medal tally reaches 369 on 9th day of Saudi Games 2023

  • Prince Fahd bin Jalawi crowns athletics champions
  • Princess Delayel crowns Al-Nassr with basketball gold

RIYADH: Two athletes from the Al-Riyadh club won two gold medals in the track and field competitions on the ninth day of the Saudi Games 2023 on Friday.
Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s vice president and the games’ director, awarded Al-Riyadh’s Hani Al-Nakhli a gold medal in the men’s paralympic discus throw and his club-mate athlete Nadha Al-Humaydani the gold medal of the paralympic shot put.
Abdulrahim Al-Sheikh, head of the Saudi Paralympic Athletics Federation, attended the medal presentation ceremony at Al-Riyadh Club. Prince Fahd bin Jalawi also attended the wrestling and goalball paralympic medal ceremonies.
Meanwhile, Al-Riyadh’s Sultan Al-Hebshi won the silver medal in the paralympic discus throw ahead of Jazan’s Haidar Salamh, who won the bronze.
Sarah Al-Jumaah from Al-Riyadh secured the silver in the women’s shot put ahead of Al-Sharqiya’s Mohrah Al-Enez, who took the bronze.
Drift champions crowned:
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, crowned the winners of the drift competition, which concluded on Friday at the Dirab Field.
Zakaria Silwan won gold, Bader Al-Shurayhi silver, and Khaled Al-Zayed bronze.
Al-Nassr crowned winners of 3x3 men’s basketball:
Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, the Saudi Games’ deputy director, presented the gold medal to the Al-Nassr basketball team after they won the 3x3 men’s basketball competition at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex’s fan zone.
Al-Nassr defeated Al-Hilal 16-11, while Al-Safa club clinched the bronze medal after winning against Al-Salam 19-11.
Mudhar Club won the youth category’s gold medal after winning 21-12 against Al-Hilal, who took the silver, while Al-Khowildiah won the bronze.
Prince Fahd, Princess Delayel in the fan zone:
Prince Fahd and Princess Delayel attended the lively fan zone of the Saudi Games, which attracted a large gathering on Friday. Spectators enjoyed watching the Riyadh Derby, featuring Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, on large screens amid various engaging activities.
Al-Baha win goalball gold:
Ilgar Rahimov, president of the International Blind Sports Federation, awarded the winners in goalball on Friday at the Paralympic Hall of the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex. The Al-Baha team won the gold medal after winning 9-8 against Riyadh, which took the silver. Al-Qassim Club clinched the bronze with a 7-2 victory against Al-Hasa.
Olwani wins long jump:
Al-Ittihad’s Hamoudali Olwani topped the men’s long jump competition ahead of silver-medal winner Al-Hilal’s Ahmad Marzouq. Third came Al-Ahli’s Ahmed Obaid.
In the men’s discus throw, Mohammed Tolu from Al-Hilal took the gold while Osama Al-Aqili and Abu Bakr Zakaria won the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Al-Hilal win 3000m steeplechase:
In the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase, the gold medal was awarded to Al-Hilal’s Raid Al-Jadaani, who came first ahead of Qilwah’s Ali Al-Shahrani and Al-Shabab’s Khalid Hazazi, respectively.
In the men’s 400m final, Al-Ahli’s Mazen Al-Yasen won the gold while Al-Shabab’s Yousef Masrahi and Qilwah’s Ismaeel Al-Subiani won the silver and bronze, respectively.
Malam wins gold at 100m:
Heba Malam from AlUla claimed the women’s 100-meter gold medal ahead of silver medalist Lujain Al-Humaid from Al-Safa. Yasmin Al-Dabbagh of Al-Ahli won the bronze.
In the youth category, Al-Adalah’s Lujain Hamdan came in first ahead of Noor Al-Jandan from Al-Khaleej and Bedoor Al-Herz from Al-Khaleej who came second and third.
Al-Wehda win gold in 60kg wrestling:
The Saudi Wrestling Federation’s President Fahad Al-Faraj awarded the gold medal of the 60kg Greco-Roman wrestling to Al-Wehda’s Munther Jandu. Meshal Al-Jayzani from Al-Nassr and Al-Wedha’s Rayan Hawsawi and Haitham Barahmah were presented the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Wrestling champions:
In wrestling’s 70kg category, Al-Wedha’s Ahmed Barahmah bagged the gold medal after a 5-3 victory against Turki Al-Harthi, who took the silver. Al-Raed’s Mansur Zelmukanov and Al-Wedhi’s Abdulmajeed Ahmed won the bronze.
Meanwhile, in the 80kg category, Al-Nahdah’s Mohammed Abdelaal came in first after a 6-1 win against Al-Wedha’s Hassan Barnawi. Third place went to Al-Ettifaq’s Abdullah Al-Dossary and Al-Shabab’s Hassan Al-Harthi.
Al-Hilal’s Reda El-Maghraby took the 90kg gold medal while the silver was handed to Mahmoud Hawsawi from Al-Ahli. Al-Wehda’s athletes Ammar Hawsawi and Sanad Al-Sibyani shared bronze.
In the above-90kg category, Ohod’s Mohammed El-Ghazaly clinched the gold ahead of Al-Wedha’s Ghazi bin Bakr. Al-Ahli’s Mohammed Al-Mashyakhi and Al-Wehda’s Ibrahim Fallatah shared the bronze.
Saudi Gymnastics Federation president crowns the winners:
Suleiman Al-Jasser, president of the Saudi Gymnastics Federation, presented the medals to winners of the men’s pole vault in gymnastics. Al-Ibtisam’s Jaffar Al-Sayigh clinched the gold medal while Al-Ittihad’s Abdulaziz Al-Johani and Al-Safa’s Hasan Al-Sheef won the silver and bronze.
In the men’s parallel bar, Al-Ittihad’s Nasser Al-Samiri came in first ahead of Al-Ibtisam’s Habeb Aswailah and Al-Ittihad’s Manaf Al-Amri, who ranked second and third, respectively.
In the horizontal bar, Al-Ibtisam’s Ali Al-Mobireek won the gold while Al-Ittihad’s Abdulkarim Al-Mur won silver ahead of third-placed Al-Khowildiah’s Haidar Al-Jaroudi.
Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr women qualify to futsal semifinals:
The women’s futsal semifinals feature Al-Nassr against Al-Hilal and Al-Shabab against Al-Qadisiyah on Sunday. The group stage concluded on Friday at Al-Nassr Club after Al-Suqor defeated Al-Nawras 2-0 and Al-Hilal beat Al-Qadisiyah 13-0. The United Eagles thrashed the Golden Eagles 7-4 and Al-Shabab won against Al-Nassr 2-1.
Men’s basketball:
The men’s basketball competition kicked off Saturday in the Green Hall of the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex. The five-day event started with Al-Hilal beating Al-Salam 85-58, while Al-Safa won against Al-Khaleej 78-64 and Al-Wehda beat Al-Khowildiah 45-36.
Men’s futsal semifinals:
Al-Nassr Club hosted the men’s futsal semifinals, in which Al-Nassr eliminated Al-Ettifaq in the penalty shootout 5-4 after tying 4-4. Al-Riyadh were scheduled to face Al-Qadisiyah.

SAFF: 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship ‘will be the first of many’ tournaments held in Kingdom

Updated 01 March 2024

SAFF: 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship ‘will be the first of many’ tournaments held in Kingdom

  • Jordan defeat Nepal in penalty shoot-out to claim victory in 1st official 11-a-side women’s tournament held in Kingdom
  • Saudi officials hail ‘exciting new era for professional women’s football’ after milestone event draws nationwide interest

RIYADH: The latest chapter in Saudi Arabia’s football evolution came to a close last weekend as the 2024 West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship — the first official 11-a-side women’s tournament held in the Kingdom — reached its conclusion. 

A milestone occasion that attracted nationwide interest and engagement, the eighth edition of the championship was staged in Jeddah throughout its 11-day duration from Feb. 19 to Feb. 29 as seven countries competed alongside the host nation.

Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Nepal, Palestine, Syria and Guam joined Saudi Arabia with fixtures played at the King Abdullah Sports City and Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Sport City stadiums. A total of 15 matches were played across the group and knock-out stages.

The final was played in front of over 4,000 fans at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Sport City Stadium and ended 2-2 after full time, with Jordan winning the tournament via a penalty shoot-out against Nepal in Thursday’s final.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation’s message following the 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship was clear — this debut official 11-a-side women’s tournament on home soil “will be the first of many.”

“We promise that the 2024 WAFF Women’s Championship is the start of an exciting new era for professional women’s football in Saudi Arabia,” Lamia Bahaian, vice president of the federation, said in a statement.

“Besides showcasing our hosting credentials to the region and wider world, it has paved the way for more competitions to make their way to our shores in the years ahead. For sure, this will be the first of many.”

Bahaian said that the women’s game is inspiring audiences as a driving force for positive change, with the Saudi Arabia women’s national team “instrumental” to the direction of travel.

“Reaction to the tournament and the way it was received by fans and the wider community was incredible — witnessing fans embrace the competition, get behind our women’s national team, and attend matches was a genuine joy,” she said.

“Our national team has been instrumental here. The players are pursuing their dreams and representing their country for everyone to see. This has helped introduce women’s football to audiences new and old, laying new foundations for sustained growth and development while contributing to a positive shift in wider society.”

Underpinned by a strategy to help elevate Saudi Arabia to elite status in world football by 2034, huge strides have been taken in the last few years, with growth witnessed across a series of key metrics. 

Since 2021, the number of female clubs nationwide has increased by 112 percent, with the number of local players up 150 percent and national teams up 300 percent.

Jeddah race to showcase Red Sea city’s charm

Updated 29 February 2024

Jeddah race to showcase Red Sea city’s charm

  • Half marathon hosted by Saudi Sports for All Federation, Historic Jeddah Program
  • Runners of all ages, abilities will pass famous landmarks over 4 routes

JEDDAH: Runners in Jeddah will take in the city’s charming sights on March 3 during a half marathon hosted by the Saudi Sports for All Federation and Historic Jeddah Program.
The event will include four routes for male and female runners of all ages and fitness levels.
The Historic Jeddah Program was launched by the Saudi Ministry of Culture to elevate the Red Sea port city as a key center of heritage within the Kingdom.
Bab Jadid, known as Jeddah Old Gate, will serve as the start and finish line for all race routes.
Adults can take part in the half marathon distance of 21 km, while the 10 km race is open to runners aged 12 and above.
Meanwhile, the two other races of 4 km and 1 km are open to runners of all ages and fitness levels, including those with special needs or disabilities.
The event will feature a range of activities within the race village, which is welcoming visitors starting Thursday.
Musical and cultural shows will be held, alongside a range of traditional food offerings for visitors.
The race routes pass by charming streets and famous historical landmarks, including Naseef House, the Al-Matbouli Museum, Al-Jafali Mosque, King Fahd Fountain and the Jeddah Corniche.

First La Liga Futures competition in Saudi Arabia kicks off March 1

Updated 29 February 2024

First La Liga Futures competition in Saudi Arabia kicks off March 1

  • The U-14 tournament, hosted at Mahd Sports Academy in Riyadh, will feature 8 La Liga and 4 international teams

MADRID: La Liga FC Futures U-14, a flagship tournament featuring the youth academies of top-tier Spanish clubs, and being held in Saudi Arabia for the first time, kicks off on March 1.

The matches, to be played at Mahd Sports Academy in Riyadh, has been organized in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports. For the first time, the players making up the competing sides will be in the under-14 category and will play 11-a-side matches.

The tournament will feature 12 clubs, eight EA Sports La Liga teams, plus AS Roma (Italy), SL Benfica (Portugal), Olympique de Marseille (France) and Mahd Academy (Saudi Arabia).

La Liga’s leadership chose Saudi Arabia as the host because of the country’s emergence as a hub for sporting and cultural activities in recent years. The most popular sport in the Kingdom is football, with the highest level of participation among those under the age of 30.

For the past 15 years, La Liga matches have been followed by millions of football fans across the Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia now has six official supporter clubs.

The 12 teams will be divided into three groups: Mahd Academy, FC Barcelona, AS Roma and Cadiz CF (Group A); Atletico de Madrid, Olympique de Marseille, Sevilla FC and Villarreal CF (Group B); and Real Betis, Valencia CF, SL Benfica and CA Osasuna (Group C).

Matches will kick off on March 1 at 9:30 a.m. (Saudi Arabia time) and March 2 at 10 a.m., with the quarterfinals being played on Saturday at 5 p.m. The semifinals will kick off at 10 a.m. on Sunday, with the final at 5 p.m.

Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships

Updated 28 February 2024

Saudi Paralympic weightlifters participate in Dubai’s Fazza Para powerlifting championships

  • Saudi participants who win gold, silver or bronze qualify for Paris 2024 Olympics
  • Mohammed Al-Harbi, president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, heads 12-player team

DUBAI: The Saudi Paralympic weightlifting team hopes taking part in the Fazza 13th Para Powerlifting 2024 World Cup will mean qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
The championships, which started on Wednesday, are being held in Dubai until Mar. 6. Saudi participants who win gold, silver or bronze medals are automatically eligible for the 2024 Olympics.
Mohammed Al-Harbi, president of the Saudi Weightlifting Federation, heads a 12-strong team that comprises Adnan Bousaid, Talal Al-Balawi, Asil Hausawi, Tariq Balghaith, Saeed Hausawi, Khalid Al-Najim, Sulaiman Al-Shaddoukhi, Abbad Hausawi, Fajr Al-Sumairy, Shareefa Al-Amari, Hassna Al-Najm, and Maha Al-Rashidi.

UAE Pro League review: Al-Wasl continue to set pace at the top of the table

Updated 26 February 2024

UAE Pro League review: Al-Wasl continue to set pace at the top of the table

  • Reigning champions Shabab Al-Ahli return to winning ways, while Al-Ain stay in second with win over Baniyas

Al-Wasl’s searing pace at the top of the standings continued, champions Shabab Al-Ahli returned to winning ways and there was more misery for promoted clubs during the ADNOC Pro League’s matchweek 14.

A first full schedule since late December — a lengthy pause for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup was extended by multiple weather postponements — began with bottom-placed Emirates Club and second-bottom Hatta suffering 10th defeats of the season.

Goals for Raniel, on 10 seconds, and Uzbekistan midfielder Azizbek Amonov helped Khor Fakkan prevail 2-0 against the latter, while rampant Wasl breezed past the former via the same scoreline thanks to efforts from nine-goal UAE forward Fabio De Lima and prolific South Korea center-back Jung Seung-hyun. They now lead the table by eight points.

Shabab Al-Ahi, meanwhile, had a trio of Brazil-born scorers to thank when they ended a two-match winless streak in their comfortable 3-0 victory versus 12th-placed Ajman. Also, a 94th-minute tap-in from promising youngster Josna Epifani Loulendo kept the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League quarterfinalists Al-Ain in the hunt with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Baniyas.

There was drama in Abu Dhabi when Mirel Radoi’s league bow for Al-Jazira ended in a 3-2 defeat to Alfred Schreuder’s rapidly improving Al-Nasr, featuring iconic striker Ali Mabkhout’s 96th-minute saved penalty. Also, Caio netted when Sharjah beat Ittihad Kalba 1-0 and Al-Wahda came from behind to down Al-Bataeh 2-1.

Here are Arab News’ top picks and a talking point from the latest action.

Player of the week: Igor Jesus (Shabab Al-Ahli Dubai Club)

It has been an eventful few weeks for Shabab Al-Ahli’s prodigiously talented, but injury impacted, youngster.

Months of speculation about a return to Brazil or a move to Europe’s major leagues looked to have been ended by this month’s announcement that Igor Jesus had gained Emirati citizenship. It has put the 22-year-old on a fast track to eventually represent the UAE senior side, which is a major boost following January’s disappointing round-of-16 exit at the Asian Cup.

On the pitch, the ex-Coritiba attacker has been rarely seen this term. Yet more knee problems had restricted him to just five league run-outs across 201 minutes, prior to Sunday’s visit of Ajman.

If anyone needed a reminder about Jesus’ residual ability, it came versus the Orange Brigade.

A precision-guided seventh-minute corner from UAE prospect Harib Abdalla was nodded home. Jesus would add an assist to his name in the second half when he played in Guilherme Bala, another naturalized Emirati/Brazilian, who did the rest with an adroit turn and impudent low finish.

The ice pack applied to Jesus’ leg showed caution when he was called off to the bench which included an instant debut for prominent Iran center midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi.

There is such youth and electricity among Shabab Al-Ahli’s attacking options. They must regularly spark to stand any chance of hauling back Wasl.

Goal of the week: Ahmad Nourollahi (Al-Wahda)

Ahmad Nourollahi’s garlanded career has contained many standout moments.

From representing his nation at the 2022 World Cup, to hoarding trophies with Persepolis and adding last season’s ADNOC Pro League crown to his resume at Shabab Al-Ahli.

Acrobatic scissor kicks, however, were not associated with him. That is, before, Sunday’s comeback triumph at Bataeh.

A hopeful cross from right-back Abdullah Al-Karbi was hung up towards the penalty box. There appeared little danger, at this point.

Nourollahi’s lethal combination of athleticism and imagination then sent the ball arrowing into the bottom corner, at the start of the second half. This would propel fifth-placed Wahda to victory, earned through impressive Uzbekistan winter recruit Khojimat Erkinov.

Coach of the week: Alfred Schreuder (Al-Nasr)

UAE football’s sleeping giant is showing signs of stirring.

Nasr have had the history, glamorous Dubai location and outstanding Al-Maktoum Stadium, plus a list of stellar previous players that includes Yohan Cabaye, Alvaro Negredo and Luca Toni. Yet even the hint of glory has eluded them for so long.

This might be changing under Schreuder. The former Ajax and Al-Ain tactician inspired a third win from their last five league run-outs at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

It came through a blend of ex-Benfica maestro Adel Taarabt, plus young stars Abdoulaye Toure and Moussa Ndiaye.

Nasr are now comfortably midtable in seventh, after flirting with relegation under Goran Tufegdzic.

It is now up to the club to provide Schreuder with the order required to create sustained success. With six permanent managers since October 2019, this is not guaranteed.

Assessing Al-Ain’s Asian outlook

Al-Ain are flying the flag for their nation in next month’s AFC Champions League quarterfinals.

No less than Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr await on March 4 and 11, in a West Asia side of the draw packed by three heavyweight Saudi Arabian challengers.

The task is a stern one if The Boss are to add to their 2002-2003 continental title. Certainly, it will require improvement from their last-gasp victory at Baniyas Stadium.

Those three points, however, came at a cost with leading 11-goal marksman Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba being removed through injury. There is no natural replacement for the Togo star within their ranks.

South Korea anchorman Park Yong-woo has gone deep into this tournament before at Ulsan Hyundai.

Steady progress under legendary ex-Argentine, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo has seen six wins accrued from their last seven matches in all competitions. The Boss are also second domestically, with a game in hand.

Crucially, Crespo must learn lessons from the February 2023 7-0 blitzing of his Al-Duhail side by holders Al-Hilal.