Thursday, 12 Dec 2019

Saudi Champion Riders to Gallop towards Glory as Diriyah Equestrian Festival Returns with Shot at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Riyadh, Supporters of the elegant sport of equestrian from around the world are invited to witness history in the making as the Saudi National Team competes on home soil against international champions of the sport in what promises to be another remarkable exhibition of sportsmanship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Between 12-14th and 19-21st December the luxury lifestyle of the horse sport will be celebrated by bridging history and tradition through world-class show jumping in what will be the second edition of the Diriyah Equestrian Festival 2019 (DEF). Held at the state-of-the-art Al Duhami Farm facility, the 6-day event will see Saudi Arabia's leading equestrian and show jumping athletes vie for their place amongst the world's best, securing the pride of their nation as they do so.

Over the course of the four-day event, the Diriyah Equestrian Festival will welcome 150 riders, 150 grooms, 50 officials, 300 companions and trainers, 250 members of the club and 150 crew members. 1500 visitors are expected to attend and will witness Saudi Arabia's hospitality with the offering of 15 food trucks catering to international cuisines, 10 shops and game and federation exhibitors.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, chairman of the Board of Directors of General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia (GSA), said: Equestrian is deep rooted in our country's history and I am extremely proud to be bringing a higher standard of this great sport to our country; both for our talented riders to showcase their finesse on home grounds, and further showcase what Saudi Arabia has to offer to the rest of the world.

This high caliber sporting display forms part of the month-long 'Diriyah Season', a spectacular season of world-class sport, entertainment, and culture, officially launched last week at a glittering ceremony in the ancient city, the birthplace of modern Saudi Arabia on the outskirts of Riyadh.

This follows the announcement last week that travelers from 49 countries across the world can now secure fast tourist visas online to attend the festival and witness the country's progression in the realms of elite sport and world-class entertainment.

DEF 2019 will be an exceptional opportunity for world-class riders to secure future success, as points scored during what is also the first FEI sanctioned competition in Saudi Arabia will account towards qualification as individual riders to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, continuing to break historical ground and continue to pave the way for future athletes in the Kingdom.

Multiple Olympic Equestrian medalist, Saudi Champion rider and host of Diriyah Equestrian Festival, Ramzy Al Duhami, said: The significance of the continuation of the DEF festival is in alignment with the vision of 2030. We are proud to be part of this historical journey and changes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are hoping to excel the show jumping circuit in Saudi to an international elite standard. Our past, our history, our future and our abilities will be reflected and represented through the DEF festival. This is a dream to be building the future generations of Equestrian athletes and I am looking forward to many more events that will come in the future.

He added: Organizing an international World Cup Event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for our future generations is a privilege and riding and performing on home ground is an honor. I am looking forward to the future of our sport at this standard.

Not only will the 'Diriyah Season' include Equestrian but will also offer other spectacular sport events, including:

The return of Formula E, kicking off Diriyah Season and the sixth season of the 2019�20 FIA Formula E Championship with a double header with back to back races on November 22 and 23. The ABB FIA Formula E Championship will return to Saudi Arabia with more action, with Porsche and Mercedes competing for the first time, boosting the number of teams battling it out on the newly announced 'Diriyah Circuit'.

Clash Of The Dunes - the first-ever World Heavyweight Title fight in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the 7th of December 2019. The current unified world heavyweight champion holding the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles Andy 'The Destroyer' Ruiz Jr, and Anthony 'AJ' Joshua, the 2012 Olympics gold medalist, go head � to � head in a revenge clash of epic proportions.

The Diriyah Tennis Cup, the first professional tennis tournament ever to be staged in Saudi Arabia from December 12 to 14. Through a knockout tournament, on the Diriyah Arena, with the coveted Diriyah Tennis Cup at stake, watch as three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland battles it out with Russia's Daniil Medvedev, Belgium's David Goffin and Italy's Fabio Fogini. Four more competitors to be announced later.

In this year's edition the General Sports Authority has also partnered with the international Equestrian Federation to add value to the Junior and Young riders by dedicating bespoke classes to them and their qualifications to the Juniors World Championships, a demonstration of the commitment in nurturing talent in the field of Equestrian and ensuring future success of young riders. Distinct, sophisticated and world class, DEF 2019 will propel Saudi Arabia's riders to the Olympics, propel the youth the elite sportsmanship and make history with Saudi Arabia's first official mixed-gender equestrian team.

Diriyah will be ready to welcome international tourists with the surrounding At-Turaif district undergoing an ambitious development programme this year, with thousands more trees planted, plus trails, picnic areas and walking paths created.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

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