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Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix Race Day

Time: December 16, 2018  
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Antonio Felix da Costa won the opening ABB FIA Formula E Championship race of the season in Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo/Basheer Saleh)

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah Formula E-Prix race marks the beginning of the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, and teams will use their Gen2 cars in the competition for the very first time.
Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa held on for victory ahead of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Jerome d’Ambrosio in the Mahindra car at the inaugural race on Saturday.
The event saw 22 professional drivers representing 11 nations and teams, competing in a 2,495 km race.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, along with his counterparts from the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad, were pictured attending the closing ceremony of the inaugural event.

This article was first published in Arab News

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WATCH: Wayne Rooney and Amir Khan watch Da Costa win Formula E in Saudi

Time: December 16, 2018  

Former Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney and boxer Amir Khan were amongst the celebrities who watched Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa claim victory in the opening race of the new Formula E season on Saturday in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Da Costa, who started from pole position, battled with defending champion Jean-Eric Vergne until the end.

The Frenchman took the lead in the 26th minute of the 45-minute plus one lap race, but was later given a drive-through penalty for overusing power and slipped behind his Portuguese rival.

In the latter stages, Da Costa took advantage of a yellow flag to activate the new “attack mode” off the back of the safety car.

Jerome D’Ambrosio was third, while former Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa, of Brazil, finished 14th in his Formula E debut.

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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LIVE STREAM: Ad-Diriyah Formula E Championship race

Time: December 15, 2018
The Ad-Diriyah Formula E Championship started on Saturday in Saudi Arabia with the start of the fifth season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

All 11 Formula E teams will use their Gen2 cars in competition for the very first time.

Earlier on Saturday, the final practice session of the free trial was launched at the Ad-Diriyah Racing Circuit.

Also watch: Live coverage of the final practice session before qualifiers of the 2018 SAUDIA Ad-Diriyah E-Prix.

 

Watch: Live coverage of the qualifiers of the 2018 SAUDIA Ad-Diriyah E-Prix.

 

WATCH: Formula E Ad-Diriyah race explained

All you need to know about Saudi’s Ad-Diriyah Formula E-Prix race

Ad-Diriyah Formula E-Prix racing action begins, thrilling young and old

IN PICTURES: Saudi, Emirati Foreign Ministers in Formula E

Technology, trends in focus as 5th Formula E season opens in Saudi’s Ad-Diriyah

WATCH: Formula E Massa take on a falcon in Saudi Arabia

This article was first published in Al Arabiya English  

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Saudi region aims to become global destination for rock climbing

Time: November 24, 2018     

Saudi region aims to become global destination for rock climbing
Al-Ula is located 110km southwest of Tayma in north-western Saudi Arabia.

The Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU) and Saudi Climbing Federation (SCF) have teamed up to develop rock-climbing venues in the Al-Ula region of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ula is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary rock formations that make it a perfect site for climbing enthusiasts and adventure tourists.

The partnership will allow SCF to develop a variety of routes throughout the Al-Ula region, so climbing enthusiasts of all ages, can explore the area.

Climbers from all over the world, both professional and amateur, are expected to come in droves to explore the destination that lies in the middle of a desert, a statement said.

Al-Ula is located 110km southwest of Tayma  in north-western Saudi Arabia.

RCU and the SCF spent last weekend exploring the site and identifying some of the most thrilling and adventurous climbing routes. The team of climbers was headed by Bandar Al Saud and Yasmin Gahtani, Saudi Arabia’s first certified woman rock-climbing instructor.

Gahtani said: “Rock climbing is a sport anyone can get involved in and the routes we will develop at Al-Ula will enable people of every age, gender and level of experience to come and get involved with this activity. The sense of achievement of reaching the top is unparalleled and with views as fantastic as those at Al-Ula, one can’t help but be inspired.”

The partnership is part of RCU’s mission to transform Al-Ula into a leading global adventure, nature and wellness destination.

It will work with SCF to generate jobs and support the local economy of Al-Ula by training individuals from the region as guides and safety officers.

This article was first published in Arabian Business

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Saudi Arabia’s motor federation chief Prince Khalid inaugurates Formula E event on Jeddah corniche

Time: November 22, 2018      

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After attracting more than 6,000 people in Khobar two weeks ago, the ‘Road to Ad Diriyah’ is ready to show the people of Jeddah the excitement of Formula E (General Sports Authority)

JEDDAH: The president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud inaugurated the touring E-Village ‘Road to Ad Diriyah’ in Jeddah — an event stopping at various points around the Kingdom to promote the upcoming Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in December.
After attracting more than 6,000 people in Khobar two weeks ago, the ‘Road to Ad Diriyah’ is ready to show the people of Jeddah the lightning fast Gen2 Formula E car, let them race in world class SAR250,000 professional racing simulators, see them fly in the interactive Icaros VR experience and enjoy an outdoor cinema by the sea.
Prince Khalid said: “As we gear up to host the historic race, we are always making sure we engage with Saudi families through exciting events that include sports, entertainment and cultural activities. This is going to be an amazing weekend. We have got so much lined up for the people of Jeddah. We have taken everything that went well in Khobar, where over 6,000 turned up, and made it even better. I am confident that we will have a record turnout in Jeddah, and we are really looking forward to give people an experience to remember.”
The event in Jeddah will also mark the second appearance of the ABB FIA Formula E Road to Ad Diriyah, an eSports championship with a total prize of SR1,000,000. The two best in Jeddah will be invited to Ad Diriyah to compete in the live finals on the Saudia Ad Diriyah race day.
The ‘Road to Ad Diriyah’ is also the chance for the people of Jeddah to secure a ticket for the historical E-Prix, as they will be sold on-site at the Corniche.
The ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is set to be the biggest ever festival of racing, culture, live music and entertainment in Saudi history. Spanning three days from Dec. 13-15, it will see the race cars of the future blitz through the historical streets of UNESCO World Heritage site Ad Diriyah, as well as global superstars performing live music on stages throughout Riyadh.
The ‘Road to Ad Diriyah’ event will be open Thursday from 4 pm. to 11 pm., and Friday and Saturday from 12 pm. to 11 pm. There will be activities for all tastes, as well as food and drinks and music. Entrance and activities are free.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Women drivers to take the wheel at Saudi E-Prix

Time: November 21, 2018

An unprecedented number of women are to compete against male counterparts in Formula E s hotly contested Rookie Test for up and coming drivers being staged in Saudi Arabia the day after the inaugural Saudia…

An unprecedented number of women are to compete against male counterparts in Formula E’s hotly contested ‘Rookie Test’ for up and coming drivers being staged in Saudi Arabia the day after the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix.

On December 16, following Formula E’s first race in the Middle East at the stunning Unseco heritage site of Ad Diriyah on December 15, female drivers will line up against male rivals on the grid to take part in the official in-season test for the forthcoming season of the FIA ABB Formula E Championship.

The ‘Rookie Test’ has seen the local promoter work with teams to encourage more female participation – with the results being one of the most exciting, diverse and competitive line-ups seen in motor sport.

The list consists of a varied group of up-and-coming talent along with well-known faces, including the first Emirati female racing driver, the youngest winner of the British GT Championship, a former Andretti Formula E driver and a member of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport commission.

Amna Al Qubaisi, will be competing in the test with Envision Virgin Racing. The UAE-born driver has had a steep progression in her career so far, starting karting aged 13, and going on to win the UAE Rotax Max Challenge Championship before more recently competing in Formula 4 with Prema Theodore Racing.

Al Qubaisi said: “I’m very proud to be representing women in general and Arabian women in particular. This test drive is another stepping-stone towards my dream of a professional career in motorsports and thanks to the continuous support of Kaspersky Lab, this dream will eventually come true.”

Princess Haifa bint Mohammed bin Saud Al Saud, secretary general of the organizing committee for the race, said: “Through the increased participation in and hosting of world-class sports within Vision 2030, we want to inspire the young people of Saudi Arabia towards greater achievement and taking an active role in every part of life.

“In this light Formula E is a natural fit for the future that we are trying to create for young people in so many ways, such as renewable energy and diversifying for economy. It is also a platform for women to show their skills and we are delighted to host a landmark occasion for Formula E and global motorsport.”

The DS Techeetah team has recruited Tatiana Calderon to get behind the DS E-Tense FE19 for the first time on track on December 16. The Colombian is no stranger to single-seater racing, having competed in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, before taking the jump to GP3 in 2016. Her current role is as official test driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber.

“When the promoter approached us about the opportunity to offer a test session to a talented female racing driver at the first in-season test, we jumped at the opportunity. We immediately started thinking about drivers that would be suitable for the test, and Tatiana was on top of our list. She’s incredibly talented and we think she’ll do a stellar job at the test with the experience she is able to bring,” said DS Techeetah team principal, Mark Preston.

Swiss racer Simona de Silvestro, who previously competed in the FIA ABB Formula E Championship’s first two seasons and today races in Australia’s Supercars Championship, will drive with the Venturi team in a new Venturi VFE05. Spanish driver Carmen Jordá spent two seasons in Formula 1 as a development driver and will drive with the Nissan e.dams team in Saudi Arabia in a Nissan IM01.

Meanwhile, British racer Katherine Legge, a Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy driver and who has impressed regulars in Nascar during 2018, will drive with Mahindra Racing in a Mahindra M5Electro on her first outing in a Formula E car since 2015.

Dilbagh Gill, team principal of Mahindra Racing, said: “Mahindra Racing is delighted to be taking part in the first 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E in-season test in Ad Diriyah. We have worked closely with the local promoter of the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix, who are aiming to encourage more female participation, and we are thrilled to be able to field one of the strongest female drivers in the sport in this test, alongside our regular Season Five driver Jerome d’Ambrosio.”
Finally, BMW junior driver Beitske Visser will link-up with BMW i Andretti Motorsport team.

Both HWA Racelab and Geox Dragon are still working to secure female drivers to take part in the test as part of their respective teams.

All drivers will be getting their first taste of Formula E’s second generation of racing technology, which has created cars that can complete the 45-minute races on a single charge while sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and hitting 285 km/h.

The Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix will be the first time that these cars have ever competed in the world’s premier electric racing category, adding extra significance to the Rookie Test at a time when driver feedback is imperative to the development of their championship challenge.

The closed test will run over two sessions across the day of Saturday 16 December, with each driver allowed one new set of tyres and a used set of tyres for their track sessions. This will follow a three-day festival of world-class motorsport and live family-friendly entertainment including superstars from the global and regional music industry.

Carlo Boutagy, head of CBX and the promoter of the event, added: “Bringing Formula E to Saudi Arabia is a fantastic moment for the culture and community of the Kingdom that is evolving through Vision 2030. Formula E and the teams have taken a remarkable step to put women drivers into such an important test and given them a genuine showcase for their talents at the pinnacle of the electric sport alongside the biggest names in the series.”

The ‘Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix’ is the first in a 10-year partnership between ABB FIA Formula E and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA) and the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF).

This article was first published in Arabian Business Community

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Princess Reema: Let’s give young Saudis a sporting chance

Time: November 17, 2018

Princess Reema bint Bandar said the new program set up between the General Sports Authority and Misk Foundation pledges to promote active lifestyles and to achieve excellence in sports. (Ziyad Alfaraj)
  • Collaboration with Misk Foundation will develop Saudi Arabia’s future champions
  • General Sports Authority also working getting Saudis more active, starting in school

A new initiative between the General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Misk Foundation is setting up a program to promote sporting activities across the Kingdom and further the careers of future Saudi champions. Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development for the GSA, sat down with Arab News on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum this week to speak about the new collaboration.

“We are honored to work with Misk for the future of our children,” said Princess Reema, president of the GSA’s Mass Participation Federation (MPF), after signing the deal with the Misk Foundation on Wednesday. While the details have yet to be worked out, she said it will involve athletic internships and scholarships to develop Saudi Arabia’s future champions.

The initiative is in keeping with Vision 2030’s Quality of Life program, which pledges to get Saudis moving by promoting active lifestyles and to achieve excellence in sports both regionally and globally.

“Part of our mandate is to grow the amateur to elite pathway,” the princess explained. “What that means is how can we have more young people active in the community sports groups and the grassroots activations to allow them to cultivate their skills. Hopefully they then will be scouted into the more professional sports pathway.”

The collaboration with Misk will enable that to happen. “With Misk, we are so proud to say that we’ve collaborated with their actual internship program and scholarship program to expand it to the avenue of sports,” Princess Reema said. “The exciting part about it is that many sports are vocational: They’re on-the-ground training. It is not something that you learn at school. It is the passion that you have, and then the correct team and the environment help you to cultivate it.”

The agreement will also cover scholarships for athletes. As Princess Reema explained: “What’s really critical for people to understand is that an athlete’s career does have an age limitation and sometimes a physical limitation, depending on injury. One of the mandates of the sports authority is to make sure that each of these young individuals has a second career.

The new initiative aims to get more Saudis, particularly the young, moving and active. (AFP)

“Education is critical. We obviously have partnerships with the Ministry of Education, but adding Misk to our portfolio truly is a gem. As an NGO they are able to execute faster and deliver faster than government bodies.”

The deal with Misk will enable a sports track for Saudi students studying abroad. “Misk has relationships with some of the best universities across the globe, and they have got seats in each of these universities for Saudi students, both male and female. Where we wanted to collaborate with them, and we are honored that they accepted, is to allow for a sports track.”

Princess Reema moderated a panel called the Future of Sport at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday, a day that saw two other high-profile guests, Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho and British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan, express interest in opening training academies in Saudi Arabia.

“This is the beauty of this world,” said Princess Reema. “Amir Khan is a boxer. He has specific skills set, but he’s willing to teach the next generation. So, our partnership with Misk, which we were discussing this last night, is how we can send young people in the Kingdom to where Amir Khan is and learn from him: not just the skills of boxing, but everything that goes around the ecosystem of boxing. And also for him to help us to find the correct coaches and trainers who will come and train young people here. That is the kind of example of what this relationship with Misk can do and what it can offer this nation.”

Amir Khan said last week he planned to set up a boxing gym in Saudi Arabia. (Getty)

There is a lot to be learned from high-caliber athletes, she said. “International athletes dedicate 100 percent of their time to their chosen sport. Today, while we don’t have the full ecosystem that can support them, we are developing it.”

Princess Reema also spoke of developments in the school system, particularly the introduction of physical education in girls’ schools this year, under a law passed in 2017. With an increased need for PE teachers, the GSA collaborated with the Ministry of Education on their training.

“The Ministry of Education has been proactive in the training of male and female PE teachers with new curriculums that they developed, and we were very honored to be a collaborative partner with them.”

The nature of that collaboration involves Olympic school days organized by the GSA, with 30 girls’ schools participating and a larger number expected in the future.

Princess Reema said the agreement will also cover scholarships for athletes. (Ziyad Alfaraj)

“As the sports authority and the Olympic committee we go in and do the training for the PE teachers, create the programming, and they come and compete inter-scholastically.”

Under Vision 2030, schools will see improvements in their facilities as well, Princess Reema said. “We have to remember that many of the schools are not equipped to have the kind of programs that the Minister of Education would like to implement. The plan is to invest in new facilities and new infrastructure. That’s going to change profoundly not only the quality of education, but also the PE that’s offered.”

As for the next Saudi female champion, Princess Reema said it’s a question everyone asks, and it deserves some patience. “A champion is not made overnight. A champion isn’t made in a year. A champion perseveres in their sport. A champion perseveres in the career of their sport.”

Her advice for young female athletes? “Whatever we can’t offer you, don’t stop and wait for someone to give it to you. The runner can run anywhere. The swimmer can swim. Focus on your sport and find your way. Call us for. help, because that is what we are here for. Even though the full structure may not be there yet, we are working in parallel with the athlete working on themselves.

“Your success is going to be a collaborative spirit, but you lead your success. We’re an enabler, but you have to lead it.”

The princess had a final word of advice for the parents of those budding athletes. “Pursue athletic activities with your children. You are the gateway to their success and you are the gateway to their exposure. Expose them to sports, expose them to physical activity, but also provide the holistic healthy lifestyle around them. The way they eat and sleep, and the way they engage with their community: You are in control of that. So allow them to have the correct foundation so when their dream truly becomes to be an athlete in sports, you have given them a foundation.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Exclusive interview with Princess Reema bint Bandar, General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia

Time: November 17, 2018      

RIYADH: A new initiative between the General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Misk Foundation is setting up a program to promote sporting activities across the Kingdom and further the careers of future Saudi champions. Princess Reema bint Bandar, deputy of planning and development for the GSA, sat down with Arab News on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk, GSA sign deal to raise society practicing sport

Time: November 14, 2018   

RIYADH – The General Sports Authority, represented by the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, signed a cooperation agreement with Misk Charity Foundation. Princess Reema Bint Bandar, chairperson of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, and Mohammed Al-Assaker, chairman of the board of the foundation, inked the deal at a ceremony held on the sidelines of Misk Global Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The agreement aims at improving the quality of life of citizens and expatriates to achieve a society practicing sports and outstanding competitive sports. It also seeks to enhance cooperation in achieving the support required to implement programs and activities that help spread the culture of sport and target all segments of society to achieve the goals of Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in this respect.

This will be through cooperation of the two parties in setting up of initiatives as well as organizing events and programs such as sports scholarships, sports training, summer programs for students and preparatory workshops for universities.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

Time: November 14, 2018      

Ronaldinho speaking at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday. (Basheer Saleh/Arab News )
  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork.

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.”

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”

 

This article was first published in Arab News

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