Two-thousand enthusiastic sports-loving men and women showcased their athleticism yesterday at the Alba Sports Festival.
The festival, staged for the second consecutive year, took place under the patronage of Alba’s chief executive Ali Al Baqali at the Alba Club in Buhair.
Organised by the aluminum giant in partnership with the International Federation of Sports Academies, the event showcased 16 activities.
They included tennis, bodybuilding, weightlifting, football, basketball, cricket, billiards and snooker, among others.
The festival coincides with the kingdom’s celebrations of Bahrain Sports Day, which will be marked on February 22 across Bahrain.
The Alba Sports Festival continues today and tomorrow at the same venue with 70 athletes with disabilities competing in multiple sports.
“When we first started last year it was 700 sportsmen competing in nine sports,” Mr Al Baqali told the GDN.
“This year, we have more than 2,000 athletes from Bahrain and across the Gulf competing in 16 sports,” he added.
“We are seeking to grow bigger each year with this sporting initiative, which is part of our commitment to the community.”
He said the high number of participants and supporters had been heartening.
“The event attracted individuals of all ages participating in multiple sport programmes, activities and disciplines,” added Mr Al Baqali.
Mr Al Baqali
“The high standard of athleticism and performances has been astonishing – all of us are winners here.”
Bahrain Tennis Federation president and Bahrain’s former ambassador to the UK Shaikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al Khalifa told the GDN that the festival was a welcome addition to the nation’s sporting calendar.
“We as a federation are keen to attract young talent into tennis and sport in general,” he said.
“This is why we scout for talent at schools and have started inviting children aged between six and eight to hone their skills on the court.
“This festival is an opportunity for them to showcase their capabilities on a big stage.
“There are such amazing facilities in Alba Club.”
Speaking at the event, International Federation of Sports Academies president, MP Ahmed Al Salloom, said there were many outstanding young talents excelling in local academies.
“This festival provides a competitive platform offering them a chance to shine and put their skills to the test,” he said.
“We are very proud that our partnership with Alba has presented them with a chance to excel.”
Mohammed Jassim Al Mirza spoke with delight after winning a Kykoshin Karate gold medal at the festival.
“I was determined to hit top spot,” he said.
Experience paid off as the martial arts fighter has notched gold medalist in eight out of the 10 competitions he has participated in.
Alba has already started preparing for the next event and the organisers have promised ‘surprises’ and more excitement at future festivals.
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