Youth hold key to global future, experts tell Riyadh G20 summit

Time: 20 November 2020

‘Youth will shape the global future,’ Lauren Power, head delegate of the US Y20, top left, said during a roundtable entitled ‘Opportunities for Youth to Create a Better Future.’ (Supplied)
  • Minister: Authorities utilizing resources, making efforts to bring sports in KSA to required level

RIYADH: Panelists at the Riyadh G20 summit on Thursday described youth as “key stakeholders of the future” as they underlined the importance of expanding opportunities for younger generations.

“Youth will shape the global future,” Lauren Power, head delegate of the US Y20, said during a roundtable titled “Opportunities for Youth to Create a Better Future.”
She highlighted the importance of meaningful dialogue, knowledge sharing and the role of technology in enriching the experiences of youth.
Power also praised Saudi Arabia, saying that it has taken many initiatives to discover, develop and empower youth.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused distress across the globe, she said.
“In the US, it has hugely affected the mental health of people.”
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Kingdom’s sports minister, said that sporting opportunities have a big role in creating a better future for youth.
The minister said that sports development in the Kingdom needs to be accelerated, and authorities are utilizing resources and making efforts to bring it to the required level.
“Our aim is to take our youth to a level where they can engage with their international peers (of athletes) and learn from their rich experiences, so in the future they can match the excellence,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s first women’s football league started on Thursday with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup and a $133,000 cash prize.
“It’s part of our youth empowerment program,” the minister said, adding that this is “one exciting step” toward new sports developments in the Kingdom.
He said that there has been a roughly 50 percent increase in number of sporting federations, while 20,000 jobs were created in sports in 2019.
Dr. Einas bint Suleiman Al-Eisa, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) rector, echoed the minister’s comments, adding that the university is creating the right ecosystem for women’s empowerment.
“Our empowerment includes the concept of global citizenship education with students and faculties, not only from the Kingdom but also various other nationalities being part of our academic program,” she said.
Y20 chair Othman Almoamar said that optimism is essential to overcome the pandemic. “Y20 has come up with a joint statement on youth empowerment that will help a lot in this area,” he said.
Anna Affranio, head of Italian Y20 delegation, said that mental health is key to overcome the challenges amid the pandemic.
She also highlighted the importance of technology and its key role in youth empowerment.
The session was moderated by Dr. Maha Al-Mutlaq, dean of the law college at PNU, who said that youth empowerment is “at the heart” of developments and reforms in Saudi Arabia.
“More than 30 percent of Saudi population are youth, with the crown prince, a young leader, as the youth icon,” she added.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi figure skater nurtures Olympic dream

Time: 04 August, 2020

Malak Al-Shaya says when in the ice rink everything feels ‘magical’ around her. (Photo/Supplied)
  • The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova

JEDDAH: A Saudi teen who picked up ice skating three years ago at a friend’s birthday party is now dreaming of taking part in the Olympic Games.

“It all started at my friend’s birthday party three years ago where we ice skated and I fell in love with the sport. I started going every day after that. My mom signed me up for classes when she saw my love for the sport,” Malak Al-Shaya told Arab News.
She said: “My mom was the one that encouraged me. At that birthday party, my mom and the coach said I was a natural because I just went for it.”
She came 4th at the Houston Invitational 2020 in March. She said that she will work harder next year to win first place.
The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova who inspired her and even to get to the Olympics.
“I’ll work on ice and off ice. I want to be like Alexandra Trusova, who makes it look so elegant,” she said.

Gliding on the ice, Al-Shaya said she feels like everything is “magical.”
The young figure skater is aware that the sport is not the most popular in the Kingdom, but she encourages those wishing to master it.
“Just go for it. If you are willing to work hard you can achieve anything,” she said.
She has received a lot of encouragement on social media to pursue her passion in figure skating.
Al-Shaya’s mother, Eman Al-Damegh, shared her daughter’s love story. “At that birthday party, it was the first time Malak ever ice skated. After that, my kids used to ask me to take them ice skating every day,” she said.

FASTFACT

• Malak Al-Shaya won 4th place at the Houston Invitational 2020.

• Al-Shaya started ice skating three years ago.

• The teen’s coach says her speed is impressive, and it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is naturally able to control comfortably.

She said that her daughter came from a background, which lacked the facilities for the sport, but was “a natural” straightaway.
“She had never been ice skating before, she started it at such a young age. We used to live in Qassim where there were no ice skating arenas at all,” said Al-Damegh.
She added: “The moment Malak set foot inside the rink, she just took off. I was so surprised, she didn’t hesitate at all, she was so daring that day. And there I was wondering what would happen on ice (before she started).”
According to her proud mother, Al-Shaya has all the capabilities required for this sport and possesses the sense of daringness that skating requires.
The teen’s coach told Al-Damegh that her daughter’s speed was impressive, adding that it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is “naturally able to control comfortably.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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