<P>Through the ages: Saudi Arabias sporting heritage By Maryam Al-Dabbagh Its no surprise that in a country that enjoys as rich a heritage as Saudi Arabia, sports have always been integral to a healthy way of life. This is has been true since ancient times, when Bedouins would engage in competitions focused on physical activity, which have now evolved into the venerable traditional sports still practiced in present-time Saudi Arabia. Yet that is only part of the story: this love of ath- leticism has spread to modern sports as well, from football to basketball to tennis and golf, with Saudis playing the part of both participa- tors and as spectators. This can be seen all over the country, in every household – down to every last living room. Such an attitude comes as no surprise, as ever since the time of the Prophet and his compan- ions, athleticism has always been encouraged. For example, the Caliph Umar advised, Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding. Many took this advice to heart. Even prior to Islam, many sporting competi- tions were held where the main focus was to test the skills necessary to survive in the harsh environment of the desert wilderness. These skills included such time-honored practices as horse and camel racing, archery, and falconry. Those who came out winners were honored with material awards as well as the respect of their peers. The same is true today; dedication to these traditional sports is maintained, with many different events organized throughout every year that serve to renew interest in them, and hone already-existing talent. At the famed yearly Janadriyah National Culture and Herit- age Festival, held in the capital city of Riyadh to celebrate the Kingdoms longtime traditions, one of the most popular and well-known events is the Grand Camel Race, where over 1,000 contestants compete: the highlight of the festival. Horse racing is hardly neglected either, as Saudi Arabia is also the birthplace of the world-renowned Arabian horse breed – some bloodlines date back thousands of years. The most well known races, also held during Janadriyah, are the Kings Cup and the Crown Princes Cup. Here, only the fittest, strongest, and purest bred of horses can hope to compete in this challenge of champions. One last example for the maintained practice for traditional sports is that of falconry, a chal- lenging hunting sport in which the competitor must dedicate much time and effort to train each and every falcon to do their bidding: a bird of prey which can never truly be dubbed ‘tame. Sometimes, the methods of practicing these sports are also updated in a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. To take camel racing as an example: increasingly nowadays, rather than utilizing lightweight human jockeys – who were often, unfortunately, children – robot jockeys are used instead. This is a solu- tion agreeable to all involved, yet no doubt unheard of in the time of the Bedouins. Its also yet another demonstration of the fluidity and flexibility with which Saudi traditions have managed to adapt to modern times. With full-hearted enthusiasm from ordinary Saudis and the support of the leaders whose drive helps to make it all possible, there is no doubt that the traditional sports culture in Saudi Arabia is one that will undoubtedly con- tinue not only to survive, but also to thrive.</p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/3/3/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/4/4/">Page-4</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/5/5/">Page-5</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/6/6/">Page-6</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/7/7/">Page-7</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/8/8/">Page-8</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/9/9/">Page-9</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/10/10/">Page-10</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/11/11/">Page-11</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/12/12/">Page-12</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/13/13/">Page-13</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/14/14/">Page-14</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/15/15/">Page-15</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/16/16/">Page-16</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/17/17/">Page-17</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/18/18/">Page-18</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/19/19/">Page-19</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/20/20/">Page-20</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/21/21/">Page-21</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/22/22/">Page-22</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/23/23/">Page-23</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/24/24/">Page-24</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/25/25/">Page-25</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/26/26/">Page-26</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/27/27/">Page-27</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/28/28/">Page-28</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/29/29/">Page-29</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/30/30/">Page-30</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/31/31/">Page-31</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/32/32/">Page-32</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/33/33/">Page-33</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/34/34/">Page-34</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/35/35/">Page-35</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/36/36/">Page-36</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/37/37/">Page-37</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/38/38/">Page-38</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/39/39/">Page-39</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/760/dwufszmbx/40/40/">Back-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publications/760/x/sitemap.xml" target="_blank">site map</a></LI> </UL>

 

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