New study shows increase in physical activity across Saudi Arabia – Arab News
RIYADH: A new survey by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics has revealed that 48.2 percent of people across the country now practice physical and sporting activities for at least 30 minutes a week.
This demonstrates a key milestone in creating a healthy and vibrant society in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 Quality of Life Objectives. 
The findings come thanks to the combined efforts of the Ministry of Sports, Saudi Sports for All Federation, Quality of Life, and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.
Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Saud, Saudi minister of sports, said: “The remarkable rise in the rate of exercise in our society is … one of the many strategies that we are constantly working on, which has been achieved today. We are grateful for the interest and support from our generous leadership, which we continue to see in the sports sector, and who have been behind all the programs and initiatives under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
“In cooperation with our partners, we have contributed significantly to changing the awareness and culture of our society, which has been paying greater attention to sports in recent years. It became a way of life for everyone, for a better future.”
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Quality of Life objectives include increasing the number of people participating in sports and physical activity across the Kingdom.
Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, president of the SFA, said: “Enhancing our sporting provisions on a local and national level will be essential to realizing our potential. At SFA, we take pride in contributing to the Kingdom’s progress and are determined to help people across the country participate in more sporting and physical activities.
“That we have come so far and achieved so much already speaks volumes, saying a great deal about how much more we can accomplish and (how much) further we can go on this journey of change,” he added. “We look forward to supporting even more people to get active and lead happy, healthy lives.”
To date, the MoS, QOL, SFA and SOAC have worked jointly to launch 74 inclusive and sustainable programs and partnered with a wide selection of entities, such as the World Health Organization, the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, the Association For International Sport for All, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.   
The MoS and SFA have also worked together to achieve milestones in the QOL program initiatives, which aim to improve individual and families’ quality of life by creating the necessary environment to develop and support new lifestyle options. The QOL initiatives include “Active Places” and “Active People,” which aim to increase the number of people participating in sports and physical activity.
Through the “Active Places” initiatives, the SFA and the MoS provide access to educational facilities and programs to create an enabling environment to help communities improve their well-being. Some of the “Active Places” initiatives include neighborhood clubs, summer camps, physical activity tests, and an online teacher toolkit.
The SFA utilizes technology to encourage people to get fit by using the SFA app: A platform for people of all levels that enables users to participate in community, group, and individual sports, as well as monitor and manage their personal health. Over 20 entities, ranging from giga-projects to startups, have enrolled on the app, and it has tracked more than 20 billion steps to date.
GaStat findings show that 54.8 percent of males practice sports weekly, with 38.3 percent of females participating in various forms of exercise every week. The most active administrative regions in the Kingdom are Eastern Region, Riyadh and Asir.
ABU DHABI: The fourth edition of the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon is expected to feature a record 20,000 participants, who will tackle a new course that takes in some of the city’s most prominent landmarks, the organizers have confirmed ahead of the Dec. 17 race.
The new 42.2 kilometer route will start in front of the headquarters of the UAE’s state-owned oil company, ADNOC, before winding through a host of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Crown Prince Court, Al-Bateen Palace, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Qasr Al-Hosn and World Trade Center Abu Dhabi. The finish line is at the ADNOC campus, where a race village will be set up.
Shorter-distance events will start in front of the Nation Towers on Corniche Road and conclude on Al-Marsa Street, and the 10 km course ends at ADNOC. The winners will share $303,000 in prize money.
Aref Hamad Al-Awani, general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said the alterations to the event are designed to enhance the enjoyment of the participants.
“The ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon is already a very successful and much-loved event on the UAE sports calendar,” said Al-Awani during the launch event at the ADNOC Business Center.
“After gauging our community through an extensive participant outreach survey, we have listened, acted, and can now look forward to an even bigger and better event for the entire family. The ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon remains an event for the community, by the community.”
Last year’s marathon attracted more than 12,000 participants of various ages and abilities, in addition to a sizable group of elite international athletes. The turnout this year is expected to top 20,000.
At the launch event, Col. Mohammed Al-Khateri of the Abu Dhabi Police and Hamad Al-Afeefi, director of the traffic management division at the Integrated Transport Center, emphasized the advantages of the new route. Luca Onofrio, head of mass events at RCS Sport and Events, outlined further improvements to the event, which include a new Race Series Edition. Already in motion, it provides training opportunities and emphasizes the value of incorporating sports into daily life.
Open to all ages and nationalities, the first of three Race Series Edition events took place on Sept. 3, indoors, at Yas Mall and included 1 km, 3 km and 5 km races. A second event is set for Oct. 8 and will comprise 3 km, 5 km and 10 km outdoor runs at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al-Ain. The final run, to be held on Nov. 5, a little more than a month before the marathon, offers participants the chance to run 3 km, 5 km, 10 km or a 21.09 km half-marathon at the world-famous Yas Marina Circuit.
Saif Sultan Al-Nasseri, director of the human capital directorate at ADNOC, said: “The changes to this year’s ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon move us one more step forward in our quest to create the best possible marathon experience.”
The organizers also unveiled a specially designed official marathon T-shirt made by the event’s primary sponsor, Nike.
JEDDAH: Given the size of the demographic, the Kingdom’s youth is its beacon for change. Many of Saudi Vision 2030’s programs are centered around young people and ways to empower them, and one sector that is strongly enabling them is sports.
The 5th Islamic Conference of Youth and Sports Ministers, held under the theme “Development of Youth and Sports for a Solidarity-based Ummah,” is being hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Sports in cooperation with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah.
Arab News spoke to Saudi Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal on the sidelines of the three-day event, which will conclude on Friday.
The prince highlighted King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support for developing the sector.
“I would like to thank King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support and encouragement and belief in the youth of the Kingdom, and all the programs that are being initiated within the Kingdom,” he said. 
“As you’ve seen in the past couple of years, there have been a lot of programs (created) with all entities and all sectors to enhance the capabilities of the youth of the Kingdom,” he added.
The minister also said Saudi Arabia showcased that its sports sector can host many international events. 
Prince Abdulaziz pointed out that 70 percent of the population in the Kingdom is below the age of 40. “There is a big population that needs to be taken care of and we need to make sure that we (have) all the necessary programs (to) ensure that they evolve and prosper for the future and for the development of the Kingdom,” he said. 
“There are a lot of programs that we are working on with all the member states, and there are a lot of programs that are continuing from the previous sessions.”
Adel Khalifa Al-Zayani, head of human and environment affairs at the Gulf Cooperation Council, said: “This … is an area with opportunities, and all the resources are focused on human resources, so that’s why … we have to depend on our human resources, and mostly the youth.”
OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha said the challenges faced by young in OIC member states needed to be addressed, especially high unemployment, the spread of extremism, displacement, asylum-seeking and illegal immigration.
To that end, he called for developing joint policies and strategies to meet the needs of young people, to offer them opportunities and to enhance their role in development, as well as to build and promote peace and dialogue to combat extremism and terrorism.
The secretary-general pointed out that global studies indicate that OIC members accommodate about a quarter of the world’s youth, and it is expected that the OIC countries will have more than a third of the world’s youth by 2050, according to the UN.
This can provide opportunities for the Muslim world if the potential of its youth is appropriately harnessed, and if it is involved in setting and implementing policies and programs on things like sports development.
He called for concrete action through development programs for young people in all member states, and asked OIC member states and relevant institutions to play an active role in these programs and initiatives.
Taha commended the great attention and care paid by the leadership of Saudi Arabia to issues related to youth and sports in the OIC member states in particular, and for the care and continuous support for the OIC and its various activities and programs, in order to strengthen Islamic solidarity, and to advance the role entrusted to the OIC.
LONDON: Chelsea have appointed Graham Potter as their new manager on a five-year contract, with the former Brighton & Hove Albion boss taking over from the sacked Thomas Tuchel, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.
Chelsea dismissed Tuchel on Wednesday, a day after they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb in their opening match of the Champions League group stage.
The London club finished third in the Premier League last season but are sixth with 10 points this term after six games, having lost at Leeds United and Southampton.
“Chelsea is delighted to welcome Graham Potter as our new head coach, joining us on a five-year contract to bring his progressive football and innovative coaching to the club,” the club said in a statement
Tuchel joined Chelsea after the sacking of Frank Lampard and helped the club win the Champions League in his first season. He also led them to the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup titles last season.
Potter takes over before their Premier League trip to Fulham on Saturday.
“I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea, this fantastic football club,” Potter said.
“I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.
“I would also like to place my sincere thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion for allowing me this opportunity and in particular Tony Bloom and all the players, staff and supporters for their continued support during my time at the club.”
He had guided Brighton to fourth in the table this season with four wins, one defeat and a draw.
The 47-year-old was appointed by Brighton in May 2019 and has led the club to 15th, 16th and ninth-place finishes in his three seasons in charge. He managed Swansea City in the Championship before joining Brighton.
“Catches win matches” is one of cricket’s oldest and tritest adages.
In my club match last weekend, one of the opposition’s players was winning the game, having survived two dropped catches. He had just completed his century, there was one wicket left to fall, nine runs needed to win and 11 deliveries remaining. He attempted to hit a six, the ball going in the direction of a lone fielder on the boundary edge. The ball was in the air a long time before the fielder safely clutched it to end the match. Had he dropped the ball, who knows what the final result would have been? Of course, the chances are that the match would have been over much sooner had either of the two earlier offered chances been taken.
There are much more famous examples of catches winning matches or dropped catches losing matches. In the final match and the final day of the 2005 England versus Australia series at the Oval in London, the home team needing a draw to regain the Ashes, were only 99 runs ahead, three wickets down, with over six hours left to play. At that point, Kevin Pietersen, on 13, edged a ball to the late Shane Warne at first slip, who dropped what, for him, was a straightforward catch. Despite Warne’s herculean bowling effort in taking 12 wickets in the match, he ended up on the losing side, as Pietersen scored 158 in a pulsating, counter-attacking innings.
A very expensive dropped catch occurred at Edgbaston, Birmingham on June 3, 1994. In a county match between Warwickshire and Durham, the Durham wicketkeeper dropped Brian Lara on 16. He went on to score 501, the highest ever individual score in first class cricket, which included an astonishing 390 runs in a single day.
In November 2014, at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, Indian batman Rohit Sharma was dropped on four by a Sri Lankan fielder on the boundary. Sharma went on to score 294, which remains the highest ever ODI individual score. Sri Lanka, requiring 405 for victory, were bowled out for 251.
The first two examples are from the longest formats of the game, four- and five-day cricket. In these, in order to win the match, it is normally necessary for the winning team to have to dismiss the opposition in both of its innings, taking all 20 wickets. This contrasts with the shorter, limited-over formats, in which the winning side is the one which scores the most runs, irrespective of the number of wickets lost. This changes the games’ dynamics.
Modern day analysts argue that one of the key changes relates to the value and importance of fielding, especially catching. Estimates have been made by them of the average value of a wicket in the various formats. In Test cricket, there is a consensus around 36 runs, whilst for T20 cricket it is much lower at eight runs. In both cases, the average value will be higher at beginning of the innings. On this basis, it is clear that the value of taking wickets is much higher in Tests.
Some 60 percent of dismissals in Test cricket are caught. Seventy percent of these catches are taken by close fielders — wicketkeeper, slips, gully, short legs. The best catchers take 80 percent of chances offered to them. Hence, great value is placed on their ability to consistently catch out the opposition, especially those batting high up the order. In Test cricket, the relative value of catching to ground fielding is high, since wicket-taking is paramount.
In T20 cricket, 60 percent of dismissals are caught, similar to Test cricket. However, less than 20 percent of those are taken by close catchers, half of them by the wicketkeeper. This is hardly surprising given that the aim of the game seems to be for batters to hit as many balls as possible over the boundary. As a result, catches on the boundary account for a higher proportion. The importance of athletic fielding also assumes a higher value, as stopping runs being scored, especially boundaries, is a vital component of these matches.
One-day or 50-over cricket displays characteristics of the other two formats. Analysts calculate that its average value per wicket is 30 runs, near to that for Test cricket. However, fielding restrictions, designed to establish a balance between bat and ball, shape it differently. In the first 10 overs of each innings, only two fielders are allowed to be outside of a 27.5-meter circle. This has the effect of making it difficult to score singles but offers the opportunity to score boundaries. In overs 11 to 40, a maximum of four fielders are allowed to be outside the circle and, in the final 10 overs, a maximum of five.
These distinct phases in each innings have led to the need for different types of players in each phase. Boundary hitters have emerged in the powerplay and final stage whilst, in the middle stages, those skillful in rotating the strike and building a solid base for big hitters in the final overs are favored. Given the value of a wicket and the importance of scoring rate in 50-over cricket, the calculation and taking of risk by batters is crucial, placing higher importance on fielders taking catches when offered than in T20s, as per the example of Sharma.
The old adage about catches winning matches has been challenged. However, whilst it is true that catches do not automatically lead to victory or vice versa, there are psychological considerations. From a club player’s perspective, the analysts’ clinical assessment of the importance of catches and their relative lack of importance, at least in T20 cricket, misses a vital element.
Dropping a straightforward catch often has a negative effect on morale. Heads go down, blame is attributed, rarely directly, mutterings abound, out of earshot of the transgressor. No one means to drop a catch but, at basic club level, where drop percentages are high, there is the distinct belief that catches still win matches.
NEW YORK: This was a match that would not end. Should not end, one might say. Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, two of the brightest young stars of men’s tennis, traded shots of the highest quality and countless momentum swings across five sterling sets for 5 hours, 15 minutes until Alcaraz finally won the last point at 2:50a.m. on Thursday, the latest finish in US Open history.
It was “only” a quarterfinal, no trophy at stake, yet was as taut a thriller as this year’s tournament has produced or, likely, will, a tour de force of big cuts on the full sprint and plenty of guts, concluding as a 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-3 victory for the No. 3-seeded Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain.
“Honestly,” said Alcaraz, who saved a match point in the fourth set, “I still don’t know how I did it.”
He also used words such as “unbelievable” and “amazing.” No hyperbole there.
“This one will hurt for quite a while,” said No. 11 Sinner, a 21-year-old from Italy. “But tomorrow, I will wake up — or today, I will wake up — trying to somehow (take away) only the positives.”
Alcaraz reached his first Grand Slam semifinal and is the youngest man to get that far at the US Open since Pete Sampras won the title at 19 in 1990.
Alcaraz has a chance to move up to No. 1 in the rankings next week, and will face No. 22 Frances Tiafoe of the United States on Friday. The other men’s semifinal that day is No. 5 Casper Ruud of Norway vs. No. 27 Karen Khachanov of Russia.
This match began Wednesday evening at about 9:45 p.m. and easily surpassed the previous mark for latest time of finish at the US Open, which had been 2:26 a.m., shared by three matches.
Alcaraz has been working overtime in New York: His five-set victory over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round wrapped up at 2:23 a.m. on Tuesday.
“I always say you have to believe in yourself all the time,” Alcaraz said. “The hope is the last thing that you lose.”
After his much more mundane, three-set victory over Andrey Rublev in a quarterfinal that finished at about 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Tiafoe was rather prescient when asked about Alcaraz and Sinner.
“I just hope they play a marathon match, super-long match,” Tiafoe said with a smile, “and they get really tired come Friday.”
Not only did this one run late, it ran long: Only a 5-hour, 26-minute match between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang in 1992 took more time at the US Open.
The clock already was past 2a.m. when Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old American who was the runner-up at the French Open and bowed out in the US Open quarterfinals on Tuesday, spoke for anyone paying attention to Alcaraz vs. Sinner when she tweeted: “this match is insane. I leave at 6am for the airport but I refuse to sleep and miss this. #Sinner #Alcaraz”
Still, even with thousands and thousands of empty seats, there were enough who remained on hand to make as much noise as a full house at times. Both players would wave their rackets or motion with their arms to encourage the fans to get even louder. And, naturally, the fans would oblige.
“Could have finished in three sets. Could have finished in four sets. Could have finished in five sets,” Sinner said. “We both wanted to win, for sure. We both tried our best.”
It was as back-and-forth as could be. The highlights were too many to list. Just one: Alcaraz won one point after extending a rally by wrapping his racket behind his back to make contact with the ball. One more: Alcaraz fell onto his backside, then sprung up to race to smack a backhand that won that point.
After taking the first set, Alcaraz held five set points in the second — but Sinner saved them all.
In the third, Alcaraz broke to lead 6-5 and served for that set — but Sinner broke to force a tiebreaker that he dominated.
In the fourth, it was Sinner who served for the match at 5-4, even coming within a point of victory there — but Alcaraz broke and wound up pushing what already was a masterpiece to a fifth.
And in the fifth, after another memorable shot — a running backhand passing winner that sailed just past Sinner’s outstretched arm — to earn a break point and a chance for a 5-3 lead, Alcaraz put a finger to his ear.
He would convert that chance, then serve it out. When the end did arrive, Alcaraz dropped to his back, his chest heaving, and covered his face with his hand.


1 thought on “New study shows increase in physical activity across Saudi Arabia – Arab News”

  1. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?


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