Tickets for historic Diriyah equestrian fest on sale

Saudi Arabia’s best riders take on the world in an epic arena carved out of the mountains

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Saudi Olympic equestrian hero Ramzy Al Duhami, team bronze medalist at the 2012 London Games, and his wife and fellow accomplished showjumper Sara Baban at the picturesque international standard equestrian center literally hewn out of the mountains surrounding historic Diriyah.

RIYADH — Passion, pride and the pursuit of dreams will be key ingredients of the historic Diriyah Equestrian Festival 2019 when Saudi Arabia’s riders take on the world’s best, and tickets for the elite competition are now on sale.

As part of the Diriyah Season, the Diriyah Equestrian Festival will see thousands descend on the venue with 150 international riders, grooms, trainers, crew members and of course the spectators flocking to the competition, which for the first time will be Olympic and World Cup qualifiers.

What they will find at the Al Duhami Farm on the outskirts of Riyadh is likely to take their breath away with an international standard equestrian center literally hewn out of the mountains surrounding historic Diriyah, itself a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of modern Saudi Arabia.

When DEF 2019 takes place, across Dec. 12-14 and Dec. 19-21, it will be history in the making as women and men will compete together as a unified team on home soil for the first time.

The event is being hosted by Saudi Olympic equestrian hero Ramzy Al Duhami, team bronze medalist at the 2012 London Games, and his wife and fellow accomplished showjumper Sara Baban.

Ramzy said: “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.

“All the experience we had, we’ve seen everything, we’ve seen all the venues worldwide, we’ve seen what the real sport is about. It was our dream to have something here. Our goal is to instill this passion in children and that is what I hope for. We saw this in last year’s edition, and we look forward to repeating the same success this year.”

Fans can expect a truly exceptional arena side experience, with the DEF VIP area overlooking the main competition arena, offering expansive views and a range of all-inclusive culinary services throughout the day.

There will be catering throughout plus an equestrian village offering activities for all the family to enjoy.

A one-day general ticket starts from SR100 for an adult and SR50 for children, whereas a full weekend tickets available for SR225 for adults and SR115 for children. VIP tables are available at SR15,000 for a full weekend and SR25,000 for both weekends. All tickets are now available at www.diriyahseason.sa

Sara said: “There is always excitement and tension. Last year the young rider who won was one of our upcoming riders and he had this fantastic mare and he was young and fearless. He was competing against all the veterans and when he won all the kids were screaming.

“For me what was really important is building community around the sport. Especially as to succeed in the sport you need the backing of the family. It is amazing thing when you see the parents cheering their children, they get so into it, this helps the children focus on something they are passionate about.”

The first female rider to represent the Kingdom at an Olympic event, Dalma Malhas, said that international fans of the sport should take advantage of recent tourist visas launched by Saudi Arabia.

She said: “I attended last year’s inaugural event at Al Duhami Farm as a spectator and honestly it took my breath away. I have been part of shows all around the world and this was so special. What this event represents, history, heritage, talent of the present and building for the future, makes it a very special blend. It is a truly iconic event.”

The event is also part of the Diriyah Season, an epic month of iconic sports events such as Formula E, top-class men’s tennis and a World Heavyweight Title fight — The Clash On The Dunes. Known as the home of kings and heroes, the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site Diriyah will also stage performances from some of the biggest music artists on the planet. — SG


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