Mindanao Times

Saudi to host snooker event


SAUDI Arabia has agreed a deal with World Snooker to host a ranking event for the first time after signing a 10-year deal with the sport’s governing body.

The Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters will be held in Riyadh from October 4-10 with total prize money of £2.5 million ($3.29 million) as part of the 2020-21 World Snooker Tour calendar.

“This is a giant leap forward for our sport. We have enjoyed tremendous global expansion over the past decade, particular­ly in Asia and Europe and we are thrilled to stage a new and momentous tournament in the Middle East,” World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said on Sunday.

The tournament will include all 128 Tour players and the world’s top 32 will enter at the third-round stage, with four local players competing in the first round.

Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority chairman Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal Al Saud said: “This partnershi­p adds further to our hosting of a diverse range of internatio­nal sports in Saudi Arabia.

“Having held motor sport and events in recent months, and with tennis and equestrian events to follow, we are thrilled to add the Saudi Arabia Snooker Masters, which will see world-class snooker played in Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2020.”

Saudi Arabia has been accused of using top-level sport to cover the country’s dubious human rights record.

Human rights organizati­on Amnesty Internatio­nal has highlighte­d the country’s “abysmal” reputation, due to heavy restrictio­ns on freedom of expression and women’s rights, as well as the use of the death penalty for offenses not recognized as crimes under internatio­nal law.

The Kingdom has sought to stage sporting and entertainm­ent events in a bid to attract visitors and move away from its oil-dependent economy.

Britain’s Anthony Joshua won world heavyweigh­t titles against Andy Ruiz in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines