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Saudi Games 2022 Kick Off With Grand Opening Ceremony

The largest national sporting event of its kind, the first edition of the Saudi Games, began on Thursday with women's weightlifting competition and will continue for two weeks with other competitions taking place all across the city.

The Saudi Games 2022 officially kicked off on Friday at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh with the participation of over 6000 competitors.

Distinguished visitors, including HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of the Riyadh region, and the Saudi public were welcomed. In a lavish celebration with lights, fire, and music, it paid tribute to the athletes of the past, present, and future.

The royal anthem opened the Saudi Games, which was followed by the athletes' parade and the Olympic and Paralympic Committee flags. Leading Saudi athletes carried the flags, including Ahmed Sharbatly, a Saudi rider who competed in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and Dounia Aboutaleb, the first Saudi woman to win a gold in taekwondo at the Asian championship in 2022.

In a speech, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the minister of sports and chairman of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, thanked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on behalf of all Saudi athletes for his generous patronage and unlimited support. The Prince is also the Chairman of the Saudi Games' Supreme Organizing Committee.

“We wish all the best to our Saudi heroes in this historic session, and I hope that this will be a nucleus and a key to presenting distinguished and creative champions able to develop themselves and elevate the name of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the future in continental, regional and international forums.”

At the event, Ibrahim Almoaiqel, Sarah Aljumaah, Yasmeen Al-Dabbagh, and Ahmed Sharbatly swore the oath for the Saudi Games on behalf of all athletes. Representatives also took the Saudi Games oath on behalf of all judges, officials, and coaches.

The launching of the first Saudi Games in Riyadh for the year 2022 was then formally declared by Prince Faisal, Governor of Riyadh, followed by fireworks. Olympian athletes, including Sydney ‘00 Olympic Games Silver medalist Hadi Soua’an and Tokyo ‘20 Olympic Games Silver medalist Tarek Hamdi, transferred the Saudi Games torch to its official platform.

The event ended with a live concert from renowned DJ David Guetta.

Contestants will compete for a grand total of more than SR200 million: Gold-medal winners awarded SR1 million, silver-medal winners to collect SR300,000 and the bronze SR100,000. This is the greatest sum ever allocated to the sports industry in the history of the region.

The Saudi Games seek to improve overall participation in sports, foster a healthy sense of competition among participants, and channel regional sports passion. It also hopes to develop into a hub for unearthing untapped talent. 

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