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Offbeat Saudi Arabia announces sporting mega-event

05:50  27 february  2020
05:50  27 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will hold its biggest sporting event next month, with 6,000 athletes expected to participate, the latest extravaganza in a push The announcement came a day after King Salman upgraded the government body overseeing sports to a full ministry, reflecting its growing

LONDON: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced plans to build a 0 billion mega city on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, as part of a huge national push to diversify its economy. The 26,500 square kilometers zone, known as Neom, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology

a view of a city at night: The Saudi Games will be held in Riyadh between March 23 and April 1. © AFP PHOTO/HASSAN AMMAR The Saudi Games will be held in Riyadh between March 23 and April 1.

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will hold its biggest sporting event next month, with 6,000 athletes expected to participate, the latest extravaganza in a push to soften its ultra-conservative image.

The "Saudi Games" will be held in Riyadh between March 23 and April 1 and will feature 40 sports -- including swimming, athletics, archery, badminton and basketball -- that will be open to men and women, officials said.

"I (am) proud to launch the biggest sporting event in the kingdom's history," said the Saudi sports minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki.

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia 's General Authority of Civil Aviation announced on Tuesday the opening of Neom Bay Airport in the northern region of Sharma. Speaking to over 160 diplomats who attended NEOM’s first ever beach sports events , Al-Nasr stated that the first phase of NEOM’s construction is

Neom (styled NEOM; Arabic : نيوم‎ Niyōm) is a planned cross-border city in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia . It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and also function as

The top prize reserved for gold medalists is one million riyals ($267,000), organisers said.

The announcement came a day after King Salman upgraded the government body overseeing sports to a full ministry, reflecting its growing importance in the kingdom's reform efforts.

It comes amid growing fears over the coronavirus epidemic, while Saudi Arabia itself has far reported no cases of the disease.

Saudi Arabia, under fire over human rights abuses, has accelerated investment in glitzy sports and entertainment events in a bid to improve its reputation and boost jobs and investment in the sectors.

Prince Abdulaziz was put in charge of the new sports ministry as the kingdom hosts multi-billion dollar events -- from major football leagues to women's wrestling.

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Saudi Arabia 's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. © Charles Platiau © Reuters. The world’s largest crude exporter Saudi Arabia plans to create a huge sovereign wealth fund for the The government also announced plans to liberalize the market in order to attract foreign investors.

Saudi Arabia will host the first World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight final in May next year as well as its first-ever international motorsport event , featuring stars President of Saudi Arabia ’s General Sports Authority Turki Al-Sheikh signed agreements with organizers during a trip to London this week.

Saudi Arabia is to host the world's richest horse race this week -- taking over the mantle from Dubai -- with $20 million in cash prizes on offer.

Earlier this week, Saudi sports authorities launched a women's football league, in a new leap for women who were only allowed to enter football stadiums as spectators for the first time in January 2018.

But activists also accuse Saudi rulers of "sportswashing", using such events as a tool to soften their international image after long being condemned over rights abuses including the jailing of women activists.

"In recent months, Saudi Arabia has worked hard at 'sportswashing' its reputation –- trying to use the glamour of sport as a public relations tool to improve its international image," Amnesty International said Wednesday.

"This drive to improve the overall situation of women in Saudi Arabia can only be welcomed when it goes hand-in-hand with the inclusion of the brave individuals who fought for decades for this change."

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