(MENAFN - Arab News) Dazzling fireworks in all colors of the rainbow traditional dances moving musical renditions and stunning laser shows marked the inauguration of the sr2 billion king abdullah sports city on thursday in jeddah.
the celebrations went on late into the night. the sky came alive with a brilliant display of intensely colorful pyrotechnics. nearly 100000 spectators packed into the middle east's most modern and high-tech stadium watched the event. football fans decked out in green white and red created a carnival atmosphere whistling clapping dancing waving and cheering their favorite team.
as custodian of the two holy mosques king abdullah’s unmistakable voice boomed through the stadium there was tremendous jubilation from the crowd. “i announce this stadium as a gift to the young people of saudi arabia” said king abdullah.
“we love you abu miteb” the crowd chanted in unison. “we love you.”
the two teams vying for the king’s cup al-ahli and al-shabab kept the spectators spellbound. in the end al-shabab was too tough to handle for al-ahli. the result 3-0 in favor of al-shabab spoke for itself.
the iconic stadium which can seat 60000 spectators has now become the crowning glory of jeddah the city known as the bride of the red sea.
everything about the inaugural event was flawless.
this included the raising up of a 10-year-old boy to the royal gallery on wires singing sensation abdul majeed abdullah’s beautiful rendition of an arabic song and the amazing laser shows. it was a picture perfect event with saudi aramco’s quality stamped all over it.
just as the iconic king abdullah university of science and technology (kaust) the entire king abdullah sports city project was executed by saudi aramco with the help of local contracting companies.
with such a huge number of people crowd management seemed to be a daunting task. lt. col. aati al-qurashi spokesman of makkah police said everything went according to plan. “we have gained good experience in handling massive numbers because of our handling of the haj and umrah pilgrimages” he said.
after a complicated evaluation process al-muhaidib contracting which has a tie-up with belgium's besix was given the task of handling the project in 2011.
the final design of the city was undertaken by the london-based arup. the task required nonstop work by 10000 workers of varying specialties around the clock seven days a week. the work was completed in 23 million man-hours over a period of 14 months.
arup has designed major architectural landmarks such as the sydney opera house canton tower one of the tallest towers in the world and the allianz arena stadium in germany.
al-muhaidib completed the work on time despite countless challenges including the difficulty of getting materials in huge quantities at short notice. close to 900 domestic companies imported various materials for it.
the company completed the work over 169622 square meters of land using 200000 cubic meters of reinforced concrete 90000 tons of steel and 7000 tons of iron structures. before that 1.2 cubic meters of digging works were completed and 15700 meters of pipelines were laid. approach roads of 8.5 km were also constructed in addition to car parks covering an area of 1 million square meters.
the design of the city also considered the weather with the facility able to pump out hot air from the stadium continuously to keep the area cool.
imad abdul qader al-muhaidib chairman of the board of directors of al-muhaidib contracting said the company's biggest challenge was the 13-month deadline to complete the project.
— an photos by khidr al-zahrani & fahd al-ahmari