Golden triumphs during day 12 of Saudi Games 2023

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The Saudi Games is the biggest national sporting event held annually in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Games is the biggest national sporting event held annually in the Kingdom. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 December 2023
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Golden triumphs during day 12 of Saudi Games 2023

  • Winners receive medals from Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, other leading figures
  • Athletes compete in table tennis, karate, handball, basketball, fencing, Thai boxing, futsal competitions

RIYADH: Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud, the deputy director of the Saudi Games, on Monday crowned the winners in the para table tennis competition at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex Paralympic Hall.

Al-Riyadh’s Ghaliah Al-Anzi secured the gold medal, Renad Al-Rehaili from Al-Sharqiya claimed silver, and bronze was presented to Al-Riyadh’s Maryam Al-Myrisl.

The princess also handed out awards to the winners in the women’s fencing contest, held at the Riyadh Club. In the epee category, Al-Shabab’s youth player Fawzya Al-Khibiri retained her Saudi Games gold medal title. Al-Nahda’s Nada Abed took silver, and Layan Ahmedo and Dana Al-Qassem from Al-Shabab both received bronze.

Jana and Mariam shine in karate:

Adwa Al-Araifi, assistant minister of sports affairs, presented awards to the winners in the women’s open-weight karate competitions, staged at King Saud University.

Maryam Al-Salah of Al-Hilal won the gold medal, while Samar Mokhtar from Al-Farouk took home the silver. Al-Nassr’s Noura Al-Rashed secured bronze.

In the women’s open-weight youth category, Hajer’s Jana Al-Omarin took the gold, Al-Hilal’s Jwan Feteiha silver, and Al-Ittihad’s Rana Faiad bronze.

Hajer takes the youth karate gold:

Hajer’s Abdullah Al-Garni secured the gold medal in karate’s under-55 kg men’s youth category, which took place at King Saud University. Khaled Al-Otaibi from Al-Ahli Club received silver, and Al-Saffa’s Ali Al-Aryani the bronze.

Mahdi Al-Munjem from Okh won gold in the under-61 kg category, silver went to Hajer’s Omar Shaman, and bronze to Bassam Shafei from Al-Hilal Club.

Hajer’s Abdulaziz Al-Saif scooped the gold medal in the under-68 kg category, while Al-Safa’s Haitam Oufkir took silver, and Al-Ahli’s Fahad Al-Otaibi bronze.

Al-Safa’s Abdullah Al-Qahtani won gold in the under-76 kg class, Hajer’s Enad Al-Mubarak silver, and Hamza Rami from Al-Nahdah Club claimed bronze.

In the over-76 kg competition, Abdulaziz Mansour from Al-Shabab Club was the gold-medal winner, with Hajer’s Fazaa Al-Saiar taking silver, and bronze going to Al-Fateh’s Yousef Al-Abdulazeem Safa.

Al-Hilal dominates karate with three gold medals:

Al-Hilal’s Saud Al-Basher secured the gold medal in the under-60 kg category in the karate competitions, also held at King Saud University. His teammate, Turki Al-Nami, won silver, and Saud Al-Dossari from Al-Nassr Club claimed the bronze.

Omar Al-Azmi from Al-Nassr won gold in the under-67 kg category, followed by Al-Ittihad’s Fahd Al-Khathami with silver, and Al-Ahli’s Anas Basha taking the bronze medal.

In the under-75 kg category, Ali Burnawi from Al-Ittihad secured the gold medal, Ali Mugari from Al-Safa Club the silver, Al-Hilal’s Majed Al-Khalifah the bronze.

Firj Al-Nashiri from Al-Hilal Club won gold in the under-84 kg class, with his teammate Mohammed Al-Maliki clinching silver. Al-Nassr’s Anas Al-Zahrani received the bronze.

Al-Hilal’s Sanad Sufyani secured gold in the over-84 kg category, and Ibrahim Al-Marzooq of the same club, took silver. Al-Safa’s Zayed Al-Bishi was the winner of the bronze medal.

Karate gold for Hajer youth:

Secretary-general and CEO of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Abdulaziz Baeshen, awarded the medals for the karate winners.

Abdullah Al-Garni took home the gold in the youth under-55 kg category at King Saud University. The silver medal was won by Hajer’s Khaled Al-Otaibi, while Ali Al-Aryani from Al-Saffa secured the bronze.

In the men’s over-76 kg category, Abdulaziz Mansour from Al-Shabab Club won gold, followed by Fazaa Al-Saiari taking silver, and Yousef Al-Abdulazeem securing bronze.

Handball victories for Al-Qarah, Al-Khaleej, and Al-Safa:

In the men’s handball competitions, Al-Qarah defeated Al-Jeel 30-24 in the first group match held at King Saud University’s Sports Arena. Al-Khaleej overcame Al-Muheet 39-21, and Al-Safa defeated Al-Njoom with a score of 65-19 in the second group.

Al-Rawdah will face Al-Noor in the third group, while Al-Adalah will play against Al-Hada. Al-Wehda will compete against Al-Hazem in the fourth group.

Three matches in youth handball:

Al-Wehda defeated Al-Hazem 25-15 in the first group match at King Saud University’s Sports Arena, and Al-Noor secured a 32-18 victory over Al-Hada in the same group. Al-Khaleej will play Al-Ibtisam in the third group, and the second group will see Al-Ahli versus Mudhar and Al-Hilal take on Al-Qarah.

Women’s basketball semi-finals begin:

Jeddah United women’s basketball team began their campaign to defend their title with a victory over Al-Qadisiyah, winning 60-20 in the first match of the quarterfinals.

The Al-Ittihad team defeated Al-Nassr 48-36, while Al-Hilal overcame Al-Ahli 49-42. Jeddah United will next face Al-Ittihad, and Al-Hilal will play against Al-Asima.

Men’s basketball semi-finals begin:

The men’s basketball semi-finals take place at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex Sports Arena. Al-Ahli and Al-Hilal will open the matches, followed by Al-Nassr against Ohod.

Al-Nassr dominates youth fencing gold:

Al-Nassr’s athletes claimed the podium in the youth foil events. Gold was awarded to Saud Al-Rasheed, while Abdulaziz Al-Mugairen took silver, and Fares Al-Omair and Abdulaziz Hatem Al-Tuwaijri received the bronze.

In the men’s youth sabre category, gold was awarded to Al-Adalah’s Jehad Al-Obaid. Silver was presented to Al-Omran’s Ali Saeed Al-Hashem, and Al-Adalah’s Ahmed Al-Omran and Al-Watani’s Abdulsalam Turk Al-Anazi secured bronze.

In the youth men’s epee fencing category, Hassan Abed from Al-Nahda Club won gold, Al-Hilal’s Ahmed Hzazi took silver, and Youssef Al-Banai from Al-Hilal and Saleh Sultan Al-Sudais from Al-Nassr claimed bronze.

In the youth women’s sabre division, Al-Shabab’s Talene Al-Kudmani clinched the gold while her teammate, Zilal Ahmado, bagged silver. Luluh Al-Buqmi from Okaz and Al-Ettifaq’s Aleen Khalid Al-Amoudi took home the bronze.

Hattan wins gold in Thai boxing:

Hattan Al-Saif secured the gold medal in the women’s Thai boxing 57 kg category at King Saud University. Abdulrahman Al-Olayeq, the former secretary-general of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, and Rian Al-Ahmad, a Saudi Arabian Thai Boxing Federation board member presented the awards.

Ghadah Al-Shehri won the silver medal, while Dana Al-Ghussein and Reema Al-Ferdews received bronze.

Champions crowned in men’s Thai boxing:

Ahmad Rosli won the gold medal in the 57 kg men’s Thai boxing category, staged at King Saud University. Khalid Al-Dawalibi took the silver, and Alaraa Al-Amoudi and Abdullah Mohammed received the bronze.

Othmane Essaadaoui clinched the gold medal in the 63.5 kg category, with Abdullah Al-Qahtani taking silver, and Mujtaba Al-Zaki and Mehtab Khan bronze.

In the 75 kg class, Soufiane Marzaq was the gold-medal winner, while silver was presented to Abdulrahman Bajbaa. Ali Najee and Amer Al-Anzi both came away with the bronze.

Al-Riyadh wins gold in men’s futsal:

Al-Riyadh team claimed the gold medal in men’s futsal after defeating Al-Nassr 4-3. Al-Ittihad secured bronze after winning 8-5 against Al-Qadisiyah.

Dr. Khalid Bin Muqrin, board member of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and former Saudi football star Majid Abdullah handed out awards to the winners.


Day 3 of Fencing World Championships sees new champions

Vctorious women’s under-20 foil team was honored during the ongoing event in Riyadh. SPA
Updated 15 April 2024
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Day 3 of Fencing World Championships sees new champions

  • The American team dominated the men’s under-20 foil team

Riyadh: Abdullah Al-Sunaid, CEO of the 2024 Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championships, crowned the victorious women’s under-20 foil team during the ongoing event in Riyadh. 

The Japanese team emerged triumphant, securing the gold medal after a thrilling victory over Italy, who won silver. The Republic of Korea claimed the bronze, with France also clinching bronze and securing the third position in the intense competitions held at the King Saud University Sports Arena.

In the men’s events, Mohammed Chaouchi, president of the Tunisian Fencing Federation, honored the winners of the third day. The American team dominated the men’s under-20 foil team, seizing the gold medal by defeating Italy, who took silver. Japan secured the bronze, while France also claimed the bronze and secured the third spot on the podium.


Wehrlein wins Misano E-Prix after last-lap heartbreak for Rowland

Updated 15 April 2024
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Wehrlein wins Misano E-Prix after last-lap heartbreak for Rowland

  • Victory for TAG Heuer Porsche driver was the sixth of his Formula E career
  • Reigning champion Jake Dennis claims second place for Andretti Formula E Team, Nick Cassidy of Jaguar TCS Racing secures third

MISANO: The Misano E-Prix saw Pascal Wehrlein of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team emerge triumphant after an intense battle for Round 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on Sunday night.

At the second leg of the inaugural Misano E-Prix double-header, Wehrlein made amends for TAG Heuer Porsche’s poor performance in the first race on Saturday. His first-place trophy from Round 7 is the sixth of his Formula E career, following a heartbreaking last-lap miscalculation that resulted in the then-race leader Oliver Rowland running out of energy and retiring.

Reigning ABB FIA Formula E World Champion Jake Dennis of the Andretti Formula E Team secured second place, while Jaguar TCS Racing’s Nick Cassidy clinched third place at the flag by five hundredths of a second, in front of a 25,000-strong crowd.

Wehrlein’s triumph has him tied with Dennis at the top of the Drivers’ standings, with previous leader Rowland falling to third. Meanwhile, Jaguar TCS Racing leads the Teams’ table by a significant margin.

“Yesterday would have been better to win but I’m very happy about the race today,” Wehrlein said. “It was quite chaotic again in the beginning until mid-race. I wasn’t sure if I should stay in the lead or let Oli (Rowland) through the pace. His pace seemed a bit weird and too fast to try and defend so I didn’t defend him much. I was a bit surprised by his energy, I wasn’t sure if the team had the correct information or not. But in the end, it proved to be the right thing to do. It was a lot of managing; the energy, the battery, the tires. Just everything.

“It goes quickly from zero to hero, we know that in Formula E. I think we had the pace this weekend to win both races. Unfortunately yesterday with these kinds of races I was a bit of a victim with my front wing and then being at the back, but today was a big redemption for us.”

Round 8 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will be the 2024 Monaco E-Prix on Saturday, April 27.


Rohit Sharma century in vain as Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians in IPL

Updated 14 April 2024
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Rohit Sharma century in vain as Chennai Super Kings beat Mumbai Indians in IPL

  • Set 207 for victory, five-time winners Mumbai finished on 186-6

MUMBAI: India’s Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten 105 but his Mumbai Indians fell 20 runs short as they tried to chase down a big target set by holders Chennai Super Kings in a battle of IPL heavyweights on Sunday.
Set 207 for victory, five-time winners Mumbai finished on 186-6 even though Rohit raised his ton in 61 balls at his home in Wankhede Stadium.
Skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad and the in-form Shivam Dube powered Chennai, who won their fifth title last year, to 206-4.
Gaikwad hit 69 and Dube smashed an unbeaten 66 before warhorse M.S. Dhoni smashed three successive sixes in the 20th over to take Chennai past 200.
Dhoni came in to bat with four balls left and scored 20. He smashed Mumbai skipper Hardik Pandya for three sixes and finished with a two to end a 26-run over.
“Our young wicketkeeper scoring three sixes down the order helped a lot and I think that was the difference,” Gaikwad said of the 42-year-old Dhoni.
Sri Lanka quick Matheesha Pathirana then took four wickets to push Mumbai to their fourth loss of the season and Gaikwad said he bowled “exceptionally well and nailed those yorkers.”
The two teams are on contrasting runs after changes of guard this season.
Pandya replaced Rohit as Mumbai captain while Dhoni surprisingly handed over the Chennai leadership to Gaikwad.
Gaikwad had his fourth win as captain after he set the pace for his team with his 40-ball knock laced with five fours and five sixes.
He put on 90 runs with Dube before falling to Pandya, but Dube and then Dhoni’s cameo ensured Chennai finished strongly.
Mumbai started well with Rohit and Ishan Kishan putting on 70 runs for the first wicket before Pathirana hit back.
Pathirana, known “Baby Malinga” for his slinging action similar to former Sri Lankan quick Lasith Malinga, sent back Kishan and then Suryakumar Yadav, for his second duck this season, in the space of three balls.
He later dismissed Tilak Varma for 31 as Rohit attempted to keep up the charge in his 63-ball knock and his second IPL ton.
Pathirana was named man of the match and Pandya said the Sri Lankan “was the difference.”
Tushar Deshpande got Pandya out and the home crowd cheered in another sign of growing unpopularity of Mumbai’s choice of captain.
In the first match of the day, Phil Salt’s rapid 89 and three wickets for Mitchell Starc helped Kolkata Knight Riders race to a crushing eight-wicket win over Lucknow Super Giants.
Starc’s 3-28 kept Lucknow down to 161-7 at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens, with the other Knight Riders’ bowlers putting in disciplined performances after their side elected to field first.
The Australian left-arm quick became the most expensive buy in IPL history after Kolkata shelled out $2.98 million for his services.
Opener Salt then steered the two-time IPL winners to their target in 15.4 overs for their fourth victory in five matches this season.
The English wicketkeeper-batsman put on 120 runs with skipper Shreyas Iyer, who made 38, smashing 14 fours and three sixes in his 47-ball knock.


Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory

Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia display resilience to secure notable ACC Premier Cup victory

  • Match likely to represent a landmark triumph

AL-AMARAT: On the evening of the second day of the ACC Premier Cup, my taxi driver rubbed the tips of his fingers together, not in anticipation of money but to indicate that something was in the air.

If he meant rain, he was correct. People woke early in Muscat on day three, Sunday, to the sound and sight of medium to heavy rain. Forecasts indicated that it would die away by 11 a.m. This turned out to be the case. The ground staff got to work on turf two at Al-Amarat, clearing the covers, rolling the wicket and preparing the outfield, which had dried very quickly.

Fortunately, only two matches were scheduled for day three, both on turf two. The first was Oman v Cambodia; the second, Hong Kong v Saudi Arabia. Play commenced at noon on turf two with Oman batting in a match reduced to 11 overs per side.

Prior to that, at 11:45, the covers came off turf one, the roller went to work, along with associated preparations. Perhaps turf one would be used for the second game of the day, thus allowing a full quota of overs for the first match. However, it seemed that, despite those preparations, turf one would be rested. The day’s second match was to be played to the 20 overs per team. It would have been interesting to see how the matches would have been balanced in terms of overs had four games been scheduled for day three.

Oman were asked to bat first, and lost a wicket in the first over. Undeterred, the batters sought to score quickly, given the reduced number of overs. Seventeen came off the third over, 18 off the fifth, largely off the bat of Naseem Khushi, who finally perished with 69 in the eighth over. Further hitting in the final two overs propelled the total to 154 for five.

Cambodia made a steady start in the first five overs, scoring 44 runs, but their innings unraveled in dramatic fashion in the sixth over, bowled by Aqib Ilyas. The first ball was scooped to deep square, where the fielder could not get his hands to the ball. However, off the next ball, Viraj was caught at deep midwicket, Beukes came in and was bowled first ball, followed by Godara, who misread the delivery, cutting it onto his stumps, to give Ilyas a hat-trick.

After that, wickets continued to fall, only captain Luqman Butt displaying resistance in a lone fight, ending undefeated on 41 out of 91 for seven.

There had been little danger of an upset after the first five overs of the game, but the scene was set for Saudi Arabia to achieve the first one of the tournament, after a disappointing defeat in the first match. The team elected to bat and a different intent was visible from the outset. Although S. Khan was dismissed in the fourth over, Abdul Waheed, who could easily have been run out in the same over, stroked his way to 77 in partnership, first with F. Khan, 30, and then with Manan Ali, 44, whose straight hitting was instrumental in Saudi reaching an imposing 202 for eight.

It was the team’s second highest T20I total after the 221 for three against Bhutan on Feb. 15, 2024. Indeed, the team’s top five T20I totals have all been scored in 2024. Signs, perhaps, of a team on the rise.

In Saudi’s first match on day two, the bowlers had impressed. If a defense of 202 was to be achieved, they needed to impress again. Despite an early success for Ishtiaq Ahmad, who pinned Y. Murtaza lbw, the opening bowlers were not at their best, conceding 57 runs in five overs. The introduction of captain Hisham Shaikh turned out to be inspirational. Out of nowhere, for no reason, A. Rath skied a catch, and two balls later B. Hayat pulled a shortish ball into the deep but straight to a fielder who took a fine catch above his head.

In the first match Saudi had reduced Malaysia to 53 for five after 10 overs, but failed to make that advantage count. In this match, the introduction of slow left armer Zain Ul Abidin was responsible for restricting the progress of Hong Kong. He bowled four overs and claimed three wickets for only 16 runs. When his spell ended, Hong Kong were 106 for six after 13 overs, requiring another 97 runs in seven overs at 14 per over. This was beyond the capabilities of Nizakat Khan, who made a defiant 73 in a lost cause as the innings closed on 147 all out, 55 runs adrift.

This is likely to represent a landmark victory; a sign of a team adapting to the demands of a higher level of competition, especially after the day two defeat.

Perhaps that has galvanized the team. It does mean that in Group A Nepal lead the way with four points from two matches, followed by three teams, each with two points — Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong — with Qatar bottom with no points. The stage is set for a probable three-way battle for second place.


Haya Alsulaiman’s mission to empower women through golf in Middle East

Updated 14 April 2024
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Haya Alsulaiman’s mission to empower women through golf in Middle East

  • Saudi owner of Golftec Dubai is offering new avenue to embrace a sport long seen as a male domain

DUBAI: Thirty-one-year-old Haya Ghassan Alsulaiman, Saudi owner of the Dubai-based golf coaching center Golftec, is hoping to encourage more women to play the sport in the Middle East.

Already one of the US’ most popular institutions for golf development, Golftec — with Alsulaiman at the helm — launched in 2023 at Dubai City Walk.

The organization was initially founded in 1995 in the basement of a Denver, Colorado, country club, and has since become a household name around the world, operating in six countries, with more than 210 locations employing in excess of 800 full-time golf coaches.

However, it remains little known in the Middle East.

Alsulaiman is ready to change that across the UAE and wider region and, in the process, empower more women to embrace a sport that has long been seen as the domain of men.

“I am used to being the only woman in a male-dominated industry,” Alsulaiman told Arab News, explaining that she had previously worked for her father’s automotive dealership in Saudi where she was the only female employee among more than 200 men.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Alsulaiman would vacation in California with her family every summer, and would regularly play tennis with her father.

When her father injured his knee, he switched to golf and learned how to play with Golftec.

“It was much easier for my father to understand the sport with this type of learning facility,” she said. “Then he encouraged my sister to get involved by first becoming his caddy.

“The more she went with my father, the more she desired to play,” Alsulaiman said. “Then she suggested to take lessons with him at Golftec.”

Haya soon caught the bug and joined her father and sister in taking golf classes.

From 2014 she began playing golf each summer during the family holiday in California.

“The routine was to take a lesson or two at Golftec and then go out on the range to practice what we were taught in the lesson and then, two days after, go play on an official golf course,” she said. “That was our routine, week after week.”

Alsulaiman developed a great love for the sport. However, when she returned to Saudi after the summer, she had nowhere to practice and play.

“In Saudi there were not the facilities for golf that there are today and no coaches, so we could only play in the summer,” she said. “We played from summer to summer. The sport bonded our family. We so enjoyed it. We laughed, had fun and engaged in family friendly competition.”

After the pandemic, Alsulaiman decided to leave Saudi Arabia and move to Dubai. Following her father’s entrepreneurial spirit, she opened her own business — Golftec’s first branch in the Middle East.

The business allows her to do what she loves and, she said, encourage more women to play the sport.

While golf has become a popular sport in the UAE, with many golf courses and training centers, Alsulaiman said that there was nothing that matched Golftec’s teaching methodology, with the advanced use of motion technology and video feedback making it easy for trainees to follow. She also finds the learning environment less intimidating than that of a golf club.

“It’s relaxed and fun and is a perfect place to encourage more women to learn,” she said.

Just under a decade ago the idea of a Saudi female golfer would have been hard to imagine. Today, thanks to a slew of social reforms under Saudi Vision 2030, golf and many other sports are increasingly accessible to women across the country.

In 2020, the inaugural Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by the Public Investment Fund was held at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, signaling a turning point for women’s golf in the Kingdom.

The event also launched a comprehensive national golf sustainability strategy that oversees the environmental, economic and social aspects of the sport.

In December 2023, the Royal Diriyah Golf Club was unveiled in an event that saw Saudi women and men take to the Greg Norman-designed golf course for the first time alongside international guests.

Abeer Al-Johani, director of the Federation Office at the Saudi Golf Federation, said that the strides women were making in the sport reflected the social and economic changes in the Kingdom.

“Saudi women aside, women playing golf need much more sport, more media coverage and more opportunities,” Al-Johani told Arab News. “We need similar encouragement to what men receive but I believe we are beginning to see a lot of change — a lot of women are supporting other women in the sport specifically.”

Alsulaiman and Golftec are more than playing their part in making that happen.