Three star players steal thunder to share lead at LIV Golf Invitational Bangkok

RIYADH: The opening ceremony of the first edition of the Saudi Games, the biggest national sporting event of its kind, took place on Friday at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh with the presence and participation of more than 6,000 athletes.

The event welcomed distinguished guests, including HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Region, as well as the Saudi public. He honored athletes of the past, present and future in a grand ceremony filled with lights, fire and music.

The evening began with the raising of the Saudi flag and the national anthem, followed by the march of participating athletes from various sports clubs across the country.

A special segment of the night’s festivities was dedicated to raising the flag of the Saudi Games alongside the flag of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The flags were carried by prominent Saudi athletes, including Dounia Aboutaleb, the first Saudi player to medal at the Asian Taekwondo Championship in 2022, and Ahmed Sharbatly, a Saudi Paralympic runner who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

They then welcomed all of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have represented the Kingdom throughout history as they toured the stadium, followed by an immersive presentation of the different sports categories.

Sports Minister and Chairman of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, took the stage to deliver a speech, thanking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his generous sponsorship of the event and his tireless support. sector end. on behalf of all Saudi athletes. The prince is also chairman of the Supreme Organizing Committee of the Saudi Games.

“Today, together with the national executives, we embrace success and begin a new stage of creating champions to experience this important event: the first Saudi Games, an idea that was planned by HRH the Crown Prince, to allow more than 6,000 male and female athletes the chance to compete and show off their talents,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

Saudi athletes and champions have represented more than 200 Saudi clubs in the pursuit of passion and gold medals and received the title in 45 sports, five of which are dedicated to Paralympic champions, he said.

“We wish our Saudi heroes all the best in this historic session, and I hope this will be a core and key to showcasing distinguished and creative champions capable of developing and elevating the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. in the future in continental, regional and international forums,” he added.

At the ceremony, four athletes took center stage to take the Saudi Games oath on behalf of all athletes: Ibrahim Almoaiqel, Sarah Aljumaah, Yasmeen Al-Dabbagh and Ahmed Sharbatly. They have pledged to participate in the Saudi Games in accordance with the rules in force and have pledged to compete without drugs in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

A Saudi Games oath on behalf of all judges, officials and coaches was also taken by the representatives.

The Governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal, then officially announced the opening of the first Saudi Games in Riyadh for the year 2022.

Finally, a ceremony in which the Saudi Games torch was passed on to various athletes who traveled across the Kingdom, now taking place at King Fahd Stadium. The segment included the participation of personalities like Hadi Soua’an, silver medalist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and Tarek Hamdi, silver medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The evening ended with renowned French DJ and music producer David Guetta performing a live set for the stadium guests, featuring beloved anthems such as “Love Tonight” and “Titanium”.

The Saudi Games aim to harness regional love of sports, increase general participation in sports and create a good competitive environment for athletes. It also aims to become a platform for discovering new and undernourished talent.

The Games already kicked off on Thursday with a women’s weightlifting event and are expected to continue with various competitions across the city for a two-week period. The Games will end on November 7.

Participants will compete for a grand total of over SR200 million: gold medalists will receive SR1 million and silver medalists will receive SR300,000 and SR100,000 respectively. This is the highest cash prize dedicated to the sports sector in the history of the region.

The ceremony ended with a music concert by international DJ David Guetta.