Saudi Yoga Committee speaks to Arab representatives to discuss establishment of federation

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The Saudi Yoga Committee has held a meeting to discuss the potential of a proposed Arab Yoga Federation. (Supplied)
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President of the Kingdom’s Yoga Committee Nouf Al-Marwaai. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 April 2024

Saudi Yoga Committee speaks to Arab representatives to discuss establishment of federation

  • Committee president stresses importance of move
  • ​​​​​​​Meeting aimed to support, increase participation

JEDDAH: The Saudi Yoga Committee has held a meeting to discuss the potential of a proposed Arab Yoga Federation.
The meeting, which was held via video conference on April 24, looked at the development of yoga among people across the Arab world and the need for an official Arab umbrella to be constituted at regional level to promote it in the correct way in all its forms, whether the traditional yoga for health and well-being or as a discipline to participate in future competitions and tournaments.
The meeting was attended by representatives of federations and committees from eight countries: hosts Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine, Mauritania, and Syria.
The President of the Kingdom’s Yoga Committee Nouf Al-Marwaai spoke of the importance of establishing an Arab federation to include all Arab countries.
The meeting looked at supporting the spread of yoga and increasing participation to create a supportive environment which strengthened the Arab presence on the international scene.
The Saudi Yoga Committee stressed its desire to lead the initiative following its progress in organization and governance.

Saudi athlete Mohammed Tolo prepares to make mark at Paris Olympics

Mohammed Daouda Tolo. supplied
Updated 24 July 2024

Saudi athlete Mohammed Tolo prepares to make mark at Paris Olympics

  • Tolo began his athletics journey at the Green Sports Hall as a member of Al-Hala Fitness Center in 2020
  • His rise to prominence culminated in a silver medal at the Asian Games in October 2023

Jeddah: Mohammed Daouda Tolo, hailing from Riyadh’s Al-Uraija district, has secured a spot at the Paris Olympics following a stellar shot put performance that shattered the Asian record.

Tolo’s performance at the World Athletics Continental Tour Madrid Meeting in June met the Olympic qualifying standard with a throw of 21.80 meters.

Now, the formidable Saudi athlete, known affectionately as the “Big Man,” is set to compete among the world’s elite in the men’s shot put event on Aug. 2, aiming to advance to the Olympic final on Aug. 3.

Emerging as one of Saudi Arabia’s most promising talents, Tolo began his athletics journey at the Green Sports Hall as a member of Al-Hala Fitness Center in 2020. He  now represents Al-Hilal club.

His rise to prominence culminated in a silver medal at the Asian Games in October 2023, where he not only secured victory, but also established a new Asian record, surpassing India’s Tajinderpal Singh Toor by 3 cm.

The 23-year-old has competed in various tournaments, including the Gulf Games, Islamic Games, Arab Championship and the Asian Championship in Thailand, with each competition contributing to his growth and development.

Speaking to Arab News from the Saudi athletes training camp in Normandy, France, ahead of his Olympic debut, Tolo expressed his determination to triumph at the Paris Olympics.

“I have to prove to myself that I deserve to be at such an international event and face off against big names,” he said. Although this will be his first time at the Olympics, Tolo is eager and prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead.

For athletes worldwide, taking part in the Olympics represents a pinnacle achievement.

“I am honored to be a part of the Saudi team (on this global stage),” Tolo added. “I’m happy that my hard work has paid off and I made it to the Saudi squad for the Paris Olympics. This opportunity makes me work even harder to contribute to our team’s success. I look forward to making my country proud.”

Reflecting proudly on his national identity, Tolo highlighted his gratitude for the support from the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, led by Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal and his deputy, Prince Fahd bin Jalawi.

As preparations intensify, Tolo acknowledges the challenges ahead but remains undeterred in his pursuit of Olympic glory.

Securing a medal will not be easy, he said, adding that challenges are what drive him. “I’m going to put my hand up again and challenge for a medal.”

With unwavering determination and the support of the Kingdom behind him, Tolo is poised to leave his mark on the Paris Olympics, embodying the spirit of Saudi athletics on the world stage.

Diogo Jota says Riyadh Esports World Cup ‘a truly amazing experience’

Updated 22 July 2024

Diogo Jota says Riyadh Esports World Cup ‘a truly amazing experience’

  • Liverpool and Portugal star, an avid gamer and investor, watched all the ‘Dota2 Riyadh Masters’ and ‘Counter-Strike 2’ action, and met esports players

RIYADH: Diogo Jota, the Liverpool and Portugal footballer, who attended the Esports World Cup in Riyadh on Sunday, has declared the globe’s largest gaming festival “a truly amazing experience.”

Jota, an avid gamer and investor in multinational esports organization Galaxy Racer, watched all the action at Boulevard Riyadh City as teams contested the finals of the “Dota2 Riyadh Masters” and “Counter-Strike 2” competitions.

The eight-week Esports World Cup features a unique cross-game structure pitting the top clubs and players against one another across 22 competitions in 21 leading games.

Held within the 8,000-capacity Saudi Esports Federation Arena at Boulevard Riyadh City, it runs until Aug. 25 and has a tournament prize pool of $60 million, the largest in the history of the sport.

The attacker, who has 42 caps and played for Portugal at the UEFA Euro 2024 this summer, met participating stars, including from Saudi Arabia’s Team Falcons, and happily swapped gaming and esports stories.

Jota said: “Being here at the inaugural Esports World Cup is a truly amazing experience. The organization and scale behind this event are truly impressive, even more than I anticipated.

“I’ve always believed in the potential of esports, even before starting my own team, and EWC is proof that this scene is evolving rapidly. This level of investment and infrastructure is exactly what esports needs to grow and reach a wider audience.

“I’m excited to see how EWC continues to evolve and push the boundaries of competitive gaming.”

Jota, who wears the No. 20 for Liverpool, was ranked world No. 1 in FIFA 21’s Champions Leaderboard. A regular streamer on Twitch, he also won an invitational series of FIFA matches, run by the Premier League, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then a Wolverhampton Wanderers player, Jota defeated future Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold in the final.

Last year, Jota’s own esports organization, Diogo Jota Esports, was rebranded to Luna Galaxy — coming under the Galaxy Racer umbrella.

Prior to this, Diogo Jota Esports participated in the FIFAe Finals at Gamers8, organized by the Saudi Esports Federation, at Boulevard Riyadh City last summer, with Daniel “DFernandes” Fernandes finishing in the top 16.

More than 1,500 players, of over 60 nationalities, are battling it out at the inaugural Esports World Cup. Week three of the competition features action in the “Dota2 Riyadh Masters,” “Counter Strike 2,” and “PUBG Mobile” contests.

SPL unveils exciting 2024-25 RSL fixtures list

Updated 15 July 2024

SPL unveils exciting 2024-25 RSL fixtures list

  • Opening round of games takes place from Aug. 22, with champions Al-Hilal starting title defence at Al-Okhdood
  • New ‘Magic Rounds’ will feature derbies across Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province in weeks 9 and 26

Riyadh: The Saudi Pro League’s competitions department has officially announced the fixtures for the upcoming 2024-25 Roshn Saudi League season, which is set to kick off from Aug. 22-24.

The opening weekend will see reigning champions Al-Hilal beginning their title defense away against Al-Okhdood.

This season will feature 306 matches, meticulously scheduled to accommodate international breaks, continental competitions, and Saudi Arabian Football Federation tournaments. Notably, no fixtures will be held during the last 10 days of Ramadan, ensuring respect for the holy month.

The league has also prioritized player welfare by ensuring a minimum two-day rest between matches.

One of the highlights of this season is the introduction of “Magic Rounds.” Scheduled for Matchweeks 9 and 26, these special weekends will host thrilling derbies across Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province, showcasing rivalries such as Al-Ahli versus Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal against Al-Nassr.

The league’s fixture list is designed to ensure a balanced competition. Each team will play nine home matches and eight away matches in the first half, mirroring the same structure in the second half. Teams will avoid playing more than two consecutive matches at home or away, with a maximum of two such occurrences permitted per half of the season.

Clubs from the same city will be paired to guarantee that when one team is at home, the other is away, promoting exciting local derbies. Additionally, the season’s start and end are synchronized; a team playing at home in Matchweek 1 will play away in Matchweek 34, and vice versa. The final four rounds will feature each team playing two home and two away matches, ensuring an electrifying conclusion to the season.

The season opens with a series of compelling matchups.

Al-Shabab will host Al-Ettifaq, while 2023-24 runners-up Al-Nassr will face Al-Raed at home. Newly promoted Al-Orobah will travel to Jeddah to challenge Al-Ahli, and Al-Taawoun will welcome Al-Fayha. In Ar Rass, Al-Ittihad will take on newcomers Al-Kholood. The 2023-24 First Division League champions, Al-Qadsiah, will host Al-Fateh, and Damac will begin their campaign at home against Al-Khaleej, with Al-Riyadh traveling to Makkah to meet Al-Wehda.

The Roshn Saudi League fixtures list. photo credit: @SPL_EN

The SPL will announce match dates and kick-off times in a phased manner:
July 18: breakdown for Matchweeks 1 and 2.
Aug. 18: (Subject to AFC draw date) breakdown for Matchweeks 3 to 8.
Sept. 30: (Subject to King’s Cup Round of 16 draw date) breakdown for Matchweeks 9 to 13.
Oct. 31: (Subject to King’s Cup quarter-final draw date) breakdown for Matchweeks 14 to 22.
Feb. 22: (Subject to AFC Round of 16 draw date) breakdown for Matchweeks 23 to 34.

These announcements will depend on confirmation from the AFC and SAFF regarding their respective competition draw dates.

As the league prepares for another thrilling season, fans can look forward to a calendar packed with drama, excitement, and unforgettable moments in Saudi football.

Amr Zedan clinches Royal Charity Polo Cup 2024 at Windsor

Updated 13 July 2024

Amr Zedan clinches Royal Charity Polo Cup 2024 at Windsor

  • Saudi Polo Federation’s President Amr Zedan wins for second time in row
  • Zedan participated in the US Polo Assn team, which was led by Prince William

LONDON: The US Polo Assn team, led by the Prince of Wales, Prince William, and with the participation of the Saudi Polo Federation’s President Amr Zedan, have won the Royal Charity Polo Cup 2024.
It was Zedan’s second triumph in a row in the competition, which was held at the Guards Polo Club fields in Windsor, London, with the Japanese company Out-Sourcing Inc sponsoring the tournament.
The US Polo Assn team were crowned after drawing with the Malaysian team BP 4-4 and surpassing them on goal difference in the championship rounds.
Alongside Prince William and Zedan in the attack were Ayawat Srivaddhanaprabha, the CEO of King Power, representing Thailand, and Mark Tomlinson, representing the UK. Khaled Al-Ajmi, a board member of the SPF, and Faisal bin Dwaid, the federation’s CEO, were also present.
Zedan’s participation helped in furthering the SPF’s role in local and international social responsibility, while helping it toward its goals through participation and support in social events.
British media reports said that Prince William had taken part in the polo match to help raise more than $1.5 million for his charities. According to the UK’s royal family website, the funds raised by the match will be distributed across 11 charities and causes supported by Prince William and the Princess of Wales.

Saudi’s Hattan Alsaif fights for women’s place in Mideast MMA, continues winning start

Updated 12 July 2024

Saudi’s Hattan Alsaif fights for women’s place in Mideast MMA, continues winning start

  • At PFL MENA 2 on Friday night, 22-year-old beat Egypt’s Iman Baraka at Riyadh’s Green Halls
  • Alsaif made winning debut in the Professional Fighters League against Egypt’s Nada Faheem in May

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Hattan Alsaif is fighting to prove that women deserve their place in the world of combat sports.

The 22-year-old Muay Thai striker recently made history by becoming the first female from the Kingdom to be recruited by a major mixed martial arts organization when she joined the Professional Fighters League.

In May, Alsaif made her highly-anticipated debut during the inaugural season of PFL MENA. She knocked out Egypt’s Nada Faheem by head kick in the second round, much to the delight of fans in Riyadh.

On Friday, she continued her winning start to her MMA career by beating Egypt’s Iman Baraka at Riyadh’s Green Halls.

Alsaif hopes to inspire other Saudi Arabia women to take up the sport.

“Combat sports isn’t exclusive to men anymore,” Alsaif said. “It’s open to both sexes.”

Alsaif has some big names in her corner, namely fellow Saudi Arabian fighter Abdullah Al-Qahtani, who is currently the Kingdom’s biggest MMA star.

“He supports me, he helps me develop my game, and he gave me a lot of motivation after my first PFL win,” Alsaif said of Al-Qahtani.

Alsaif said she does not feel pressure when fighting, but rather a determination to succeed.

“Winning my last fight wasn’t pressure, it was validation,” she explained. At PFL MENA 2 this weekend, she steps back into the cage to take on another Egyptian fighter.

“It showed my preparation was perfect, and now I’m even more confident facing Iman Baraka,” she said.

Alsaif said she enjoyed fighting in her hometown. “The energy of the Saudi fans after my first win was incredible. It fueled my training and showed me I was on the right track.”

“I saw the love and support from the fans after my victory, and it made me even hungrier to win again. I’m ready to step into the cage and prove myself,” she added.

“The last fight was a great victory, but now my focus is on Iman Baraka. I’m not dwelling on the past, I’m training for the challenge ahead.”