Riyadh: Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of General Sports Authority (GSA), called on all to witness history in the making, while officially announcing the countdown for the upcoming Diriyah Season. The Diriyah season, set to run from Nov. 22 to Dec. 21 is another segment of the Saudi Season — which will see 11 festivals planned to take place in different regions of the Kingdom. Diriyah Season will see international stars in action in four different disciplines — Formula E racing, Tennis, Equestrian and Boxing
The initiative, under the aegis of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, is led and planned by different interrelated Saudi authorities including the Ministry of Culture, General Entertainment Authority, General Sport Authority and Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). The main aim of the initiative is to pave the way towards Saudi efforts to achieve high-standard tourism activities in the Kingdom while opening up seasonal jobs to many young Saudis. Reiterating the huge success of last year’s Diriyah Formula E, Prince Abdulaziz announced the launch with Ad Diriyah once again hosting the Saudi leg of FIA Formula E.
Prince Abdulaziz said, “The huge success of last year’s Diriyah Formula E encouraged us to take Diriyah to a different level during this Diriyah Season.” Prince Abdulaziz added, “Where else in the world can you find this epic blend of the past, present and future? Our arms are open and our welcome has never been warmer. Come witness history in the making.”
The prince also announced the Diriyah Tennis Cup on Dec. 12-14 featuring 8 of the best tennis players in the world, as a “source of inspiration for the youth to exercise more and play tennis.” Prince Abdulaziz revealed that the FIA Formula E race weekend would be on Nov. 22-23, with two showpiece races over the weekend.
With cars — with Mercedes and Porsche taking part for the first time — and drivers going head-to-head in the Formula E event, people are in for a treat as another year of electrifying motorsport begins in Diriyah. Prince Abdulaziz said, “Today, a year after organizing Formula E in Saudi Arabia, our ambitions have become bigger as well as our dreams.” Carlo Boutagi, CEO of CBX, said, “The popularity of motorsports and Formula E is getting higher year by year in Saudi Arabia. We expect to see three historical nights of Formula E during Diriyah Season.”
Porsche driver André Lotterer said he was looking forward to race again in this historical site. “It’s really great to be back in Diriyah, last year’s race was impressive, all the drivers enjoyed racing here and we look forward to this year’s race,” he said. With Saudi Arabia recently launching the tourist e-visas, sports aficionados will likely be attending the international sports events at a UNESCO heritage site.
The boxing event will see the maiden heavyweight title clash in the Kingdom on Dec. 7. The boxers, Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua, will fight for the unified heavyweight title — WBC, WBA, IBO, WBO. The tennis event will see a galaxy of stars with Russian Daniel Medvedev, Belgian David Goffin, Frenchman Lucas Pouille, and Italian Fabio Fognini already confirming their participation.
The equestrian event will see 150 men and women riders participating. Saudi stars will be testing their mettle against international stars during Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21. The winners will earn qualification points in their quest to compete in the Olympics in Tokyo. The equestrian ground can accommodate 15,000 fans.