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MENAFN - Arab News - 03/05/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) Custodian of the two holy mosques king abdullah dedicated on thursday a sr2 billion sports city named after him to the saudi people.

“you deserve more as your fathers and forefathers built this country” he told a jubilant crowd at king abdullah sports city near usfan.

all roads led to the spectacular on thursday which was launched with much fanfare by hosting the sr6 million king's cup final between al-ahli and al-shabab.

the 60000-capacity stadium was absolutely packed with fans from the two sides dancing singing and clapping with hundreds more people who could not get in standing outside.

there was a riot of color on the stands with fans wearing green white and red mufflers caps and scarves. al-shabab had come onto the pitch wearing red and al-ahli white.

the stadium was lit up with the flashes of thousands of mobile phones and cameras as the fans took photographs of the players.

hundreds of young saudis were seen streaming to the stadium on foot from about 2 p.m. on thursday hoping to get tickets. however the police issued a statement that no tickets would be on sale at the stadium. all tickets had been sold through saudi post offices in the city.

the lampposts on the route were festooned with pictures of custodian of the two holy mosques king abdullah and the stadium.

security was tight with commandos in black gmcs their lights flashing stationed every 200 meters on madinah road leading to the stadium. vehicles had moved at a snail's pace toward the facility.

special giant screens were set up across the city to broadcast the event including 20 at jeddah's most popular malls four along the corniche and one in the historic al-balad district.

saudi aramco known for its meticulous planning organized the event.

the new stadium is part of the king’s vision to develop the country in sports education and industry. the facility is on the same stretch of madinah road that has the king abdullah university of science and technology king abdullah economic city and the new revamped king abdulaziz international airport.

the stadium has been built over 3 million square meters. saudi aramco under the supervision of the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources built the facility in a diamond-shape combining the region’s architectural heritage with modern styles.

located three kilometers north of king abdul aziz international airport it houses various world-standard stadiums and athletic tracks.

the football stadium has been constructed according to fifa specifications. it has no sports tracks around the ground which facilitates closer viewing of matches.

huge electronic score boards 16 by 10 meters is visible from all sides. it has an electronic system allocating seats. sports lounges have a capacity for 10000 people. the facility comprises a main youth welfare office and has 10 outlets for drinks and snas.

another feature of the stadium is that it provides the facility for nine stationary and 15 mobile television camera units to operate at the same time. special facilities are also available for journalists to conduct interviews with players and analyze events. the press conference hall has a capacity for 105 people.

the spiritual needs of spectators and players are taken care of with a large mosque and several prayer halls at different locations.

the ‘roshen’ style woodwork has a touch of local heritage while the galleries are designed on three levels with a clear view of the playing grounds.

the roof is made of steel and textile to provide ample protection from rain and sun and with ventilation and temperature control.

free internet connectivity especially for social networking activities is also available at the city for spectators when big tournaments are underway.

“in recognition of the importance of sports its benefits and role in the progress of humanity and out of keenness for the welfare of saudi youth we have decided to establish the king abdullah sports city” king abdullah said in a 2009 royal decree.

the king’s vision is to promote health economic and social welfare through sports to encourage social interactions between saudi citizens and the world and to elevate the kingdom’s international athletic performance.

one of the chief objectives is for it to attract international events with its multifunctional sports recreation cultural and training facilities.

other unique factors are the four locker rooms for players which mean that two semi-final games can be played in one day. there are separate offices for managers separate locker rooms for coaches and a warm-up area for players with synthetic turf.

more than 150 paintings by saudi artists displayed around all parts of the stadium have turned every hallway into an art exhibit.

the sports hall is a venue for basketball volleyball handball five-a-side football badminton and table tennis. it is fully air conditioned and has been conceived as a “black box” to meet federation and broadcast requirements.

all sports will be supported for international and high definition broadcasting. the design maximizes flexibility and shares facilities with the stadium. other cultural and exhibition events can be held within the building.

the athletics stadium with a seating capacity of 1000 can be extended to 2000 seats. it has been designed to host national class two competitions. it features an eight-lane 400-meter track nine straight lanes and a natural grass infield. spectators will have protection from the sun and other elements.

another distinguishing feature is that all areas cater for spectators with special needs. in addition to elevators and toilets there are hundreds of parking spots and seats for them and their companions reserved at premium locations.


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