02 Dhu al-Hijjah 1443 - 1 July 2022
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Eye of Riyadh
Sports | Saturday 12 February, 2022 4:35 pm |

First-ever SAUDIA Polo Team to compete in Desert Polo Tournament as part of strategic partnership with Royal Commission for AlUla

SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has underlined its commitment to contributing to the growth of the Kingdom’s tourism and sports sectors with the launch of the airline’s first-ever polo team. The three-man team will compete in the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo 2022, one of the most eagerly awaited events of the AlUla Moments season.


The team’s participation comes as part of SAUDIA’s strategic partnership with the Royal Commission for AlUla, and is the latest in a series of collaborations designed to highlight the historic destination’s rich heritage and natural beauty. The national carrier has contributed to a variety of events and activations showcasing the ancient desert city’s unique attractions.


These include the world’s first “Museum in the Sky” flight, which highlighted AlUla’s cultural significance as a living museum and the home of Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a challenging equestrian event that attracted 200 riders from more than 30 countries to compete across 120 km of rugged desert terrain.


The Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament is one of several upcoming events supported by SAUDIA. From 27 February to 12 March, visitors will be able to soar high above the desert landscape for a magical hot air balloon ride as part of the AlUla Skies Festival. Guests can also look forward to experiencing a Symphony Under the Stars on 11 March, as a dazzling musical performance takes place against the stunning backdrop of the famous Arch Rock.


Khaled Tash, Group Chief Marketing Officer at SAUDIA, commented, “This is a period of incredible growth for SAUDIA, AlUla, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are proud to be part of the ambitious plans to connect this incredible destination with the world, share our unique culture and heritage, and welcome international visitors to the world’s largest living museum. To have a team representing SAUDIA at AlUla Desert Polo is our way of bringing this partnership to life, and contributes to showcasing the Kingdom’s rich equestrian traditions and future as a globally-renowned tourism destination, in line with our role as the Wings of Vision 2030.”


The SAUDIA polo team consists of HH Prince Salman bin Mansour Al Saud, Juan Martin Nero, and Dr. Husam Zawawi. The three-man team will make its debut at the second edition of the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo tournament, which begins on Friday 11 February and features four teams comprising some of the best players from Saudi Arabia and across the globe. Spectators will enjoy a unique opportunity to see the sport’s top names in action including Juan Martín Nero, Marc Ganzi, and Adolfo Cambiaso – founder of La Dolfina, and widely regarded as the best polo player in history. The winners of the first round will advance to the final on Saturday 12 February.


Amr F. Zedan, Chairman of the Saudi Polo Federation, said, “We are delighted to have our Kingdom’s official airline as Desert Polo’s Official Airline. They say Polo is a passport to the world, so the partnership between Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo and SAUDIA couldn’t be a more perfect match. We have already greeted many happy Argentinian and European players and guests to AlUla on the first Paris to AlUla direct flight. They were delighted to be among the first passengers on the route and we look forward to welcoming many more direct flights that will help us bring in more polo players for future events and grow the interest of the sport across the Kingdom.”


AlUla is recognized as the historical home of equestrian in Saudi Arabia. Dating back millennia when ancient civilizations harnessed wild horses to facilitate trade and exploration, the area has become symbolic of the special bond between man and horse in the region. Petroglyphs in AlUla illustrate the animals pulling chariots and going into battle. A specially-created desert polo arena has been built to welcome the world’s best polo players. The Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo 2022 event is one of many equestrian experiences that pay homage to the region’s equine past.


Phillip Jones, Chief Management and Marketing Officer for RCU said “With such stunning landscapes for all things equestrian, we look forward to continuing to work with Saudia to welcome more international visitors for sports, events, or a leisurely horse-back ride to appreciate the silence and majesty of the surroundings. In partnership with the local community, we are developing infrastructure, stables, retail and more to offer a full support to the equestrian sector.”



The launch of SAUDIA’s polo team marks another exciting milestone for the airline following the recent introduction of non-stop flights between AlUla and Paris, which commenced on 27 January 2022. The national carrier has scaled up its operations to cater to growing demand and currently runs a total of 40 weekly flights connecting the historic city to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France.


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