Saudi Netball, in collaboration with Sports for All Federation and the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), have held the first netball tournament in Saudi Arabia’s history. The tournament was held on board the MSC Bellissima; a 4,500 passenger cruise ship that is currently touring the Red Sea for the first time.
Netball is a fast-growing global game played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries. The promotion of netball, which is a women-dominated sport, is part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing initiative; as part of Vision 2030 to increase women’s involvement in sport as part of a healthy and active lifestyle.
Netball is an ideal sport to schools in the Kingdom
“Netball is an ideal sport to introduce across schools in the Kingdom;” said Princess Ghada Bint Abdullah Al-Saud, chairwoman of Netball Saudi.
“As a game, netball is inviting, accessible, encouraging, fun, and inclusive. Its game rules ensure the equal participation of all players on the court. In netball, everyone contributes equally to the success of the team, regardless of the individual role they play. It is the perfect expression of an inclusive society.”
Netball Saudi is also one of 16 sports federations and committees announced by the Saudi Olympic Committee in May 2021; as part of the committee’s effort to widen the range of sports offered and the number of sporting communities in Saudi Arabia.
The three-round tournament also played by two teams with a total of 16 players; ranging from ages 13 to 23 years old. They had been practicing netball in the Riyadh-based Golden Sports Academy.
Joint sports-tourism initiative
The tournament is also a joint sports-tourism initiative showcasing Saudi Arabia’s continued progress toward building a vibrant society; a core pillar of the Vision 2030 plan led by the Crown Prince.
Sports tourism, which includes traveling either to watch or to participate in a sporting event, is one of the fastest-growing areas of the global tourism sector. Sport-related travel creates direct economic value across a wide range of supporting sectors, including entertainment, transportation, and hospitality. This supports a relative proportion of jobs, wages, taxes, and GDP within each sector.
“Inclusion, the diversification of sports, and accessibility to sporting activities are three key objectives that drive our efforts to develop the sport across Saudi’s communities;” also said Prince Khalid Bin Alwaleed, chairman of the Sports for All Federation.
“Netball also stands out as a sport that delivers on all those three objectives. The Sports for All Federation sees a sizable opportunity to support the development of netball in Saudi Arabia.”