HISTORY

The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) was inaugurated in 1964 and was recognised in 1965 under the Olympic Council of Asia. And of course, embracing the Olympic movement and values through developing, promoting and protecting the Olympic Movement in Saudi Arabia, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. From 1964 to 2020 SAOC had eight presidents starting with His Excellency Shaikh Abdulrahman ibn Abdullah Abalkhail (1964-1975), HRH Prince Faisal ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (1975- 1999), HRH Prince Sultan ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (1999-2011), HRH Prince Nawwaf ibn Faisal ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (2011-2014), HRH Prince Abdullah ibn Musaed ibn Abdulaziz (2014-2017), His Excellency Mohammed ibn Abdulmalki Al Alshaikh (2017), His Excellency Advisor Turki ibn Abdulmohsen Al Alshaikh (2017-2019), and finally HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal (2019-Present). In addition, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country where law is implemented by the Sharia (Islamic Religious Law) and thus involves all aspects of people’s lifestyle including sports. This meant that this also drive people motives and actions, and was and still a key in promoting sports and participation in physical activities in the country.  Respecting culture and tradition were another factor that contributed to the development of SAOC and sports in Saudi throughout the eight presidency periods, and this makes it a different and unique example among other respectable countries.  The issue of women participation was delayed due to cultural aspects; however, the door was always open for parents to encourage their children and introduce them to sports. Consequently, when the opportunity came later, many women joined their preference choice of sports and dedicated their time to learn, train, and enhance their skills through competitions. Some of which were amateurs, while others were already at an advanced level, yet both were supported and nurtured by the Ministry of Sports and SAOC. Equal opportunities in sports were also granted fully in 2018 as women became athletes, coaches, administrators and board members at the Ministry of Sports’ federations, and at SAOC various committees.

Dr Saleh Bin Nasser (1964 – 1966)
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The story started when a delegation, led by Dr Saleh bin Nassir later to be known as the first president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, attended the 62nd IOC session where a vote was held to accept the membership of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee as the sole representative of the Olympic movement in Saudi Arabia, a young country back then that had big ambitions to utilize the power of the Olympic movement and sports to transform the nation. After the approval of SAOC’s membership, Dr Bin Nasser became the first president before resigning two years later. At the beginning, SAOC was formed by 5 federations only, known as the oldest federations in Saudi which are: Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Saudi Arabian Basketball Federation, Saudi Arabian Cycling Federation, Saudi Arabian Athletics Federation, and the Saudi Arabian Volleyball Federation.
His Excellency Shaikh Abdulrahman ibn Abdullah Abalkhail (1967-1968)
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The general assembly of SAOC elected His Excellency Shaikh Abdulrahman ibn Abdullah Abalkhail, Labor Minister back then, to be the second president of SAOC after Dr Saleh to incorporate the Olympic movement within the labor lifestyle of Saudi in the late sixties.
HRH Prince Abdullah Al Faisal (1969 – 1972)
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During the period of Prince Abdullah, SAOC has managed to prepare the first ever athletes delegation to take part at the summer Olympic Games that was held in Munich 1972 by sending 7 athletes from the Athletics Federation, which was one of the 5 federations that were recognized in 1965 by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.
His Excellency Shaikh Abdulrahman ibn Abdullah Abalkhail (1973 – 1974)
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Shaikh Abdulrahman was elected back as president after the Summer Olympic Games for a period of only one year, before the arrival of HRH Prince Faisal ibn Fahad, later to be launch the true launch of the Olympic movement in Saudi Arabia.
HRH Prince Faisal ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (1974- 1999)
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Prince Faisal ibn Fahd, was elected at the age of 30 and in office from 1975 to 1999. He supported physical activity and inaugurated the first official national football team. He was also chairman of the sports federation for Islamic solidarity due to the importance of the role of religion in the country, he served as chairman of the international committee for the preservation of the legacy of Islamic civilisation and, just before his death, chaired the Kingdom's supreme committee for the merit in literature prize, which still encourages youth to study and investigate the field of sports sciences. In 1974 he managed to establish the Ministry of Youth and Sport (under the name of the General Presidency of Youth Welfare) of which he was appointed President. Then throughout the 28 years of his professional career, he assumed the leadership of many sports organizations at home and abroad, such as the Arab Sports Confederation ( Now Union of Arab National Olympic Committees) , the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, Union of Arab Football Association, the International Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Legacy, Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Saudi Special Needs Sport Federation, Saudi Equestrian Federation, National Youth Hostels Society and several other organizations. He was one of the IOC most prominent members from 1983 – 1999. Prince Faisal adopted a series of 5-year development plans, by which large sport infra-structure projects featuring some 150 clubs, 13 sport mega-complexes, 21 youth hostels, a sport leadership institute, a sports medicine hospital and dozens of public sport facilities were established all over Saudi Arabia. The number of sports Federations also jumped from 5 to more than 25. During the years of his leadership, the number of youths practicing organized sport has dramatically increased. Under his supervision, Saudi Arabia made its first official debut in the 1984 LA Olympic Games. The country started to dominate the Asian scene in football and many other sports in the early 1980s. Most prominent achievements in his time included FIFA World Cup for Juniors (1989), Asian Football Cup (1984-1988 -1996), Asian Football Cup for Youth (1986-1992) and Asian Football Cup for Juniors (1985-1988). He was a major element in the creation of FIFA Confederations Cup, the first three editions of which were organized in Saudi Arabia. The leaders of Olympic Movement recognized the uniqueness of such personality and invited the Prince to join the IOC membership in 1983. There he became an influential member leading a small group of the 12 Arab members for the promotion of Olympic ideals in Arab World. His position as an IOC member proved beneficial to both the IOC and Arab sport. He effectively contributed to the establishment of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
HRH Prince Sultan ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (1999-2011)
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The passing of HRH Prince Faisal was a great loss not only to Saudi sports but also the international Olympic movement due to hi
HRH Prince Nawwaf ibn Faisal ibn Fahad ibn Abdulaziz (2011-2014)
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Prince Nawwaf ibn Faisal, son of Prince Faisal ibn Fahad, got elected at the age of 33 after the resignation of Prince Sultan. He was designated in 2002 as member at the IOC’s International Relations Committee. Despite his brief presidency, Prince Nawwaf witnessed the greatest development in communication with youth both offline and via online social networks, as he became a very active communicator and one of the most followed leaders on online social networks such as Twitter. He was the first sport leader within the Arab region to initiate this. He believed in bridging the gap between youth and officials and encouraged his employees to follow his example, and for that he was nicknamed the “Youth Prince.” Connecting Communication and technology was also important during this presidency and continued as both Prince Nawwaf and Prince Abdullah ibn Musaed afterwards promoted physical activity. All SAOC presidents supported physical activity participation for youth with special dedication to the role of religion through such measures as the Islamic Solidarity Games. Prince Nawwaf presidency period also witnessed the first royal decree appointment of a Saudi woman, Arwa Mutabagani, as an official member of the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation in April 2008. Prince Nawwaf was the first president to support women’s participation and paved the way when he allowed two women to compete in the 2012 London Olympics. The two female athletes were Wojdan Shaherkani in judo and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar. Another royal decree was issued in March 2016 to appoint HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Director of Women’s Sports at the Ministry of Sports and Vice President of Women’s Affairs at the General Authority for Sports, who is a staunch supporter of women’s physical activity. This meant new challenges and opportunities opening up for females with HRH Princess Reema heading the women sports in the country and her cooperation and dedication to flourish the field for females to participate and increase their awareness in physical activities. During this period the number of sports federations in Saudi reached 32 sports federations.
HRH Prince Abdullah ibn Musaed ibn Abdulaziz (2014-2017)
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  1. Despite the short period of presidency for HRH Prince Abdullah people believed that what was achieved during his two years of presidency will help the following presidents build their legacy on the right path.

    • - Started working on Gold 2020 program to prepare the Olympic athletes.
    • - Saudi sports federations became independent due to the Ministers Council decision.
    • - Implementation of new strategies, plans, and workshops to enhance the work at the Olympic committee in addition to solving several financial problems that have been hindering the work for the football federation.
    • - 15% increase in the employment of women in the sports ministry.
His Excellency Mohammed ibn Abdulmalki Al Alshaikh (2017)
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SAOC & Saudi Vision 2030 The first details were announced on 25 April 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The rapid changes happening in Saudi Arabia shows that the wheel is moving forward and decision- and policy-makers are taking serious actions to fulfil the grandiosely named “Vision 2030,” as described recently by Prince Mohammed ibn Salman, the deputy crown prince. The Vision is important because of the reshuffle and restructuring of ministries and ministers included in the field of physical activity and institutions affecting youth physical activity participation in the country. The Vision includes increasing the percentage of participation in physical activity from 13% to 40% over the next five years, and encourages individuals to participate in physical activity at least once a week. According to Vision 2030, the national programme is designed to enhance the quality of cultural activities and entertainment, and financial support will be offered to open dedicated venues showcasing Saudi talent. The programme will create a national network of clubs, encourage the exchange of knowledge and international experiences and promote hobbies and leisure activities. It also promises to review regulations to simplify the establishment and registration of amateur, social and cultural clubs. The goal dictates that by 2020 there should be more than 450 registered professional and amateur clubs providing a variety of cultural activities and entertainment for citizens. The vision also includes building four new Olympic stadiums, cooperation between the Ministry of Education and other sectors to benefit sports development in the country, delivering gold medals in future Asian Games, and striking triumph in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. In addition, in April 2017, the government announced 334 square kilometres (33,400 ha) sports, culture, and entertainment complex at Al-Qiddiya, south-west of Riyadh.
His Excellency Advisor Turki ibn Abdulmohsen Al Alshaikh (2017-2019)
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Following the 2030 Saudi Vision H.E Advisor Turki Al Alshaikh started a new strategy and focused on increasing participation through acknowledging sports for the society for fun and through entertainment. This managed to attract many people locally and internationally and Saudi witnessed its highest spectators’ attendance. Because of this, Society Sports Federation flourished as it held several societal sporting events such as Riyadh International Marathon, the kingdom Ballot Championship, and the International festival for extreme and electronic sports, and inaugurating Saudi Sports Media Federation in 2017. On the local side, during this period one of H.E Advisor Al Alshaik first decisions was to hold an agreement with STC and the Saudi Football Federation for sponsorships and marketing purposes with a budget of 660 million SR this was considered the biggest deal in football sponsorships. He also worked to lift the ban on women to enter the stadiums as spectators, which was achieved by early 2018. Additionally, they a special attention was dedicated towards supporting the national coaches and improving the grassroots of sports around the kingdom. 32 new sport federations were recognized during his On an Arab level, H.E Al Alshaiklh managed to cooperate in lifting the ban on Kuwait Olympic Committee, Iraq sports stadiums, and supported the Palestinian sport federation with 1 million $. Locally, during his presidency Saudi hosted the Italian Super Cup between Milan and Juventus, Mohammed Ali Klay Cup, and World Car Racing event, World Drone, and King Salman Chess Cup, and the Great Royal Rumble. On March fifth 2018, the General Sports Authority announced a 10-year partnership with American professional wrestling promoter World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to hold annual pay-per-view events in Saudi Arabia. The first event, Greatest Royal Rumble, was held on 27 April 2018 at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. For example, on March fifth 2018, the General Sports Authority announced a 10-year partnership with American professional wrestling promoter World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to hold annual pay-per-view events in Saudi Arabia. The first event, Greatest Royal Rumble, was held on 27 April 2018 at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. Due to the massive transformation in sports the work achieved was recognised by the IOC in 2018 and hence three new memberships were granted to Saudi Arabia as follow: Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Alfaisal at the IOC’s Marketing Committee, Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud at the IOC’s Women and Sport Committee, and Prince Fahd bin Jalawi at the IOC’s Public Affairs and Social Development Committee. In the same year karate athletes Mohammed Aseeri clinched Saudi Arabia its gold medal at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics in the (Karate 61kg weight class).
HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal (2019-Present)
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HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal is an athlete and a passionate rally driver by heart who became president of SAOC at the young age of 35 to reflect the Saudi Vision 2030 which seek promoting sports and increasing the percentage of participation from 13% to 40. And who better facilitate that than an athlete who can understand that and communicate it with youth and society. Saudi witnessed a historical movement when the President of SAOC Prince Abdulaziz became the first sports minister since the Ministry of sports was not recognised as a ministry until February 2020. During his presidency a royal decree was finally issued to change the Saudi Sport Authority to the Ministry of Sports and Prince Abdulaziz as the first Minister of Sports. When he first joined, he believed in equal opportunities and his passion reflected on his decision to increase the number of sports federations to 64 to allow Saudis to experiment all kind of sports and present their country with pride locally and internationally. Around 170 sports club received financial support reaching 2.5 Billion SAR including special fund dedicated to other sports that are not football to pave the way in front of all athletes to practice the sport of their preference with no obstacles. This period saw the participation of all women delegation consisting of more than 100 athletes, coaches, and administrators at the 6th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women Games in Kuwait in Oct. 2019. In addition, due to the importance of communication with youth, the presidency ensured youth athletes have their voice heard through inaugurating the Athletes Commission Committee which consist of athletes and specialists from different sport federations in 2019. During Prince Abdulaziz presidency Saudi hosted the Italian and Spanish Super League finales, in addition to Rally Dakar 2020, and the Classico Super between Argentine, and Brazil. In addition, Super Showdown WWE, Diriya Fight for heavy weight where Mexican Andy Robs met British Antony Jushuwa. The second Crown Prince Camel Racing Festival with 13 thousand camel reaching the World Guniess Book with that record.
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Goals

Twelve participations: 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016

Sydney Olympics 2000 - Khalid Aleid - Equestrian (Individual Show Jumping) - Bronze

Sydney Olympics 2000 - Hadi Souan - Athletics (400m Hurdles) - Silver

London Olympics 2012 - Ramzy Al Duhami, Abdullah Al Saud, Kamal Bahamdan, Abdullah Sharbatly - Equestrian (Team Show Jumping) - Bronze

Singapore Youth Olympics 2010 - Dalma Malhas (Equetrian - Show Jumping) - Bronze

Buenos Aires Youth Olympics 2018 - Mohammed Aseeri (Karate 61kg ) - Gold

Twelve participations: 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016
Olympic Participations​
Sydney Olympics 2000 - Khalid Aleid - Equestrian (Individual Show Jumping) - Bronze Sydney Olympics 2000 - Hadi Souan - Athletics (400m Hurdles) - Silver London Olympics 2012 - Ramzy Al Duhami, Abdullah Al Saud, Kamal Bahamdan, Abdullah Sharbatly - Equestrian (Team Show Jumping) - Bronze
Olympic Medals
Singapore Youth Olympics 2010 - Dalma Malhas (Equetrian - Show Jumping) - Bronze Buenos Aires Youth Olympics 2018 - Mohammed Aseeri (Karate 61kg ) - Gold
Olympic Medals​

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