This week, one of the largest economic and investment hubs in the world, namely Saudi Arabia, made a sporting history when a total number of 30 cyclists took part in the country’s first bicycle race for women.
According to statements, the competition, which covered a distance of 10 kilometers in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, is part of plans to make the Saudi citizenry more active in-line with the kingdom’s commemoration of World Health Day 2018.
Winners were awarded cups and medals by the General Sports Authority at King Abdullah Sports City, commonly called Al Jawhara, the multi-use stadium and the second biggest in Saudi after King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh.
On Tuesday, Saudi daily Okaz reported that one of the people taking part in the race had asked special lanes to be dedicated to cyclists as they vie for the finish line. A university student called Raghd Mohammad said the race was one of the best competitions organized for women, noting that such things were not available in the past.
According to Samira Abdullah, the race offers a unique opportunity for women to improve their health. She said they were very grateful to the General Sports Authority for their generous support.
Over the last year, Saudi Arabia has started an active drive to loosen social controls, introduce entertainment and empower women at all levels including allowing them to drive and to participate in sports.
This new change, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is aimed at rebranding the kingdom as a moderate and more welcoming country in the eyes of the world.