While the Saudi Olympic team launched its campaign in the football competition at the Asian Games hosted by Huangzhou, China, with a goalless draw with Iran in the second group, the Green Mission seeks to raise its tally in the history of the Asian Games when it launches its journey of participation in the nineteenth edition of the sports forum.
Saudi Arabia is participating with 193 male and female athletes representing 19 Olympic sports, namely football, basketball, handball, athletics, equestrian, arrows, fencing, archery, rowing, weightlifting, boxing, taekwondo, jujitsu, karate, squash, table tennis, tennis, golf and electronic sports.
The Asian Games will be held from September 23 to October 8 with the participation of more than 12,000 male and female athletes representing 45 Asian countries.
Saudi teams began arriving to various Chinese cities as final preparation before the start of the Asian tournament. It started with seven teams: football, tennis, fencing, taekwondo, basketball, table tennis and rowing.
The Saudi teams participating in the tournament continue their preparations for the Asian competitions, through internal and external camps, to achieve sporting achievements.
Attention is focused on runner Youssef Massari, who is returning from suspension, after a distinguished record that earned him two gold medals in the 400m and 400m relay at the Gwangju 2010 and Incheon 2014 tournaments.
When Masrahi (35 years old) was preparing to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics, he was banned for 4 years due to his failure to pass a doping test.
When his suspension ended, he decided that his return would not be normal, so he achieved silver in the Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey, in addition to silver in the Arab Championship in Morocco and bronze in the Asian Championship in Thailand 2023.
Masrahi said: I am looking forward to a successful participation. I prepared well for the tournament, and I am trying to focus more in the days leading up to the start of the event until I reach full readiness.
The Saudi runner added: I have passed the suspension period and I do not want to talk about it, and my focus now is on what I can do in the future.
The Saudis are also pinning their hopes on Saudi tennis star Yara Al-Haqbani and her two brothers in the competition, as well as on the riders of the Saudi national team to win the gold equestrian medal.
Taekwondo player Donia Abu Taleb is looking forward to a new achievement when she represents Saudi Arabia in the Asian Games in Huangzhou, China, which begin on Saturday, while her country is counting on athletics and martial arts to win medals.
Donia Abu Talib is participating in the 49 kg weight category, after she was able to win the first gold medal for the Saudi women’s team in the history of its participation, in the Arab Open Taekwondo Championship in Fujairah, UAE, in February 2020.
Donia Abu Talib (25 years old) says: Saudi women enjoy great support from the Saudi leadership. Which qualified her to compete in local, regional and continental sports championships, and she added: Being the first woman to join the Saudi Taekwondo team, and participating in international and global championships and winning various medals, I seek to follow the same approach, and this matter will only come with support, doubling the training, and putting in more effort and fatigue.
Donia Abu Talib previously won the world bronze in Mexico 2022, the Asian bronze in South Korea 2022, and also won the Best Arab Player award in 2023.
Also in martial arts, Tariq Hamidi is expected to pose a threat in karate competitions. Hamidi has achieved multiple achievements, but the silver medal in the 74 kg weight category at the Tokyo Summer 2021 Olympics remains the most prominent in his career.
The most recent achievement of Hamidi (25 years old) was winning the gold medal in the Asian Senior Championship, which was held in Malaysia, by defeating Japanese Ando Daiki.
Hussein Al Hizam, the pole vault player, is competing in the tournament in his best technical and moral state, ecstatic about the silver medal he achieved in the 25th Asian Athletics Championships in the Thai capital, Bangkok, after he had achieved Asian gold in the indoor competitions.
In 2018, Al Hazam (25 years old) broke the Saudi and Arab records in the pole vault, jumping to a height of 5.70 meters during his participation in the American Professional Universities Championship.
He won two gold medals at the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games and the 2023 Asian Indoor Athletics Championships.
Al Hazam carries in his genes all the characteristics of a hero. His father, Asim Al Hazam, is a former decathlete and current athletics coach.
Hussein Al Hizam said: I have reached a high artistic stage, and I am seeking to double my effort at the present time, to continue at the same level to achieve a new achievement that will make the Saudi fans happy.
Hussein started practicing sports when he was eight years old. He won the Saudi Junior Championship at the age of eleven, joining the Saudi national team early. This led him to overcome many obstacles and injuries.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia has won 61 medals (25 gold – 13 silver – 23 bronze) throughout its participation in the Asian Masters since Bangkok 1978, where it achieved one bronze medal in New Delhi 1982, one silver in Seoul 1986, one bronze in Beijing 1990, and nine medals in Hiroshima. 1994 (one gold, 3 silver, and 5 bronze), and the same in Busan 2002 (7 gold, one silver, and one bronze), and 14 medals in Doha 2006 (8 gold, 6 bronze), and 13 medals in Guangzhou 2010 (5 gold, three silver, five bronze), and seven medals in Incheon. 2014, three golds, three silvers, and a bronze, and six medals in Jakarta 2018, one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes.