Saudi Arabia is gearing up for its very first Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and everyone in the Kingdom will be watching in anticipation! Since 1972, Saudi Arabia has competed in ten Summer Olympics till date but, since most of the Kingdom’s desert regions don't experience winter, hence the lack of necessary terrains to practice on, the nation didn’t see the need to qualify for the winter games. But that isn't stopping a dedicated team of skiers from aiming for gold.
Saudi Arabian skiers Salman Al-Howaish and Fayik Abdi had achieved qualification points, earning them a spot at the alpine skiing events. The news first broke via the Chinese-based Xinhua News Agency as the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee was getting ready to make its final selection. Al-Howaish is set to compete at the slalom, while Abdi will be competing at the giant slalom. In short, Saudi Arabia will be joining Haiti on their debut at the Winter Olympics.
“A Historical Moment [...] Saudi ‘Alpine Skiing’ athletes, Salman Al Howaish and Fayik Abdi are officially eligible to compete at the Winter Olympic Games #Beijing2022 and ready to mark the first participation ever for Saudi Arabia and GCC countries,” the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced via Twitter.
Extremely proud of these ground breaking athletes! Salman Al-Howaish and Fayik Abdi will be representing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in #WinterOlympics #Beijing2022 @gsaksa @saudiolympic @iocmediahttps://t.co/zsce0JzWyH— Reema Bandar Al-Saud (@rbalsaud) January 16, 2022
In fact, some are comparing Saudi Arabia’s achievement to those of Jamaica, a tropical nation with no winter season, but determined teams that had overcome all odds to compete at the bobsleigh events since 1988.
The Beijing Winter Olympics will be held from February 4 to 20, 2022, with Saudi Arabia expected to participate at the opening ceremony. The Winter Paralympics will follow soon after, and is set to run from March 4 - 13, 2022.