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Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Mahd Academy is situated in the vibrant city of Riyadh and serves as a central point for individuals who are passionate about sports, including athletes and sports innovators, and is focused on offering continuous support to young people aspiring to become the athletes of the future, imparting crucial knowledge, and promoting best practices to achieve excellence in sports both locally and internationally. Mahd Academy is committed to developing outstanding athletes who will make a significant impact on the global sporting arena and has recently been a hot topic due to an announcement of the formulation of a new Board of Directors.
Among the party of qualified applicants, three-time Premier League champion Jose Mourinho and former Rumanian footballer Ioan Lupescu were appointed members of the Mahd Sports Academy board of directors via the announcement made by His Royal Highness Crowned Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month (more specifically, the 31st of July). This appointment has been agreed upon for a three-year term and is also comprised of esteemed members such as the Saudi Ambassador to the US HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar, Abdulaziz Baeshen, and Dr. Maha bint Ahmed Al-Juffali. The esteemed Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Sports Minister of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the academy’s board of directors, expresses his gratitude for the unwavering support and guidance provided by the leadership towards the development of the sports industry. He underscores the board’s unwavering enthusiasm and determination to move forward and make significant strides in identifying and nurturing exceptional talents across various sports disciplines such as Football, Handball, Taekwondo, Judo, and other forms of athletics. Such an initiative aims to enable Saudi Arabia to produce a new generation of world-class athletes equipped to represent the nation in international competitions with pride and distinction.
The Mahd sports academy has been identified as a key player in the athletic scene, with the potential to become one of the most significant academies in the world. Its transformation is anticipated to make a valuable contribution to Saudi Arabia’s athletic competitiveness, both regionally and globally, and adopts an all-encompassing approach to talent identification and development, focusing on enhancing the sporting competitive edge among men, women and children from as young as six years old. With over 20 group and individual disciplines available, Mahd ensures that every individual has the opportunity to excel in their preferred sport. A team of leading technical and administrative experts oversees Mahd, employing science-based physiological and psychological conditioning to cultivate a generation of Saudi talent equipped with unparalleled mental fortitude and athletic prowess.
The Mahd Academy is an important player in the sports industry from an economic standpoint. It employs many staff members, including coaches, administrators, and maintenance personnel, which helps reduce unemployment rates and promote economic growth in the region. The academy generates revenue through its various programs and services, contributing to the country’s GDP, and additionally, the academy’s facilities are a significant investment in infrastructure, which adds to the nation’s capital stock. With Saudi Arabia’s sports tourism industry projected to reach $800 million by 2026, the Mahd Academy has the potential to contribute to this growth, investing in human capital by training hundreds of athletes who will represent Saudi Arabia with pride in various sports.
With a population of more than 33 million, Saudi Arabia has a thriving community of sports enthusiasts. The country has made remarkable strides in the sports industry over the past few years, largely due to the Vision 2030 initiative and the Public Investment Fund’s substantial financial contributions to sports infrastructure and other significant sports-related investments. This initiative has helped put Saudi Arabia on the global sporting map, creating a professional environment that has garnered international attention and has become an attractive hub for foreign investments. The Mahd Sports Academy has also played a crucial role in the discovery and nurturing of the promising athletes and sports heroes of the future. Additionally, this program will enable the country to diversify its economy by tapping into the vast potential of sports while boosting the enthusiasm and vibrancy of its sports-loving community.
The future of sports in Saudi Arabia is poised for a remarkable transformation. Sports play an important fiscal role all over the world and can be a significant tool for encouraging diplomacy and projecting soft power on a geopolitical level, and the academy will be utilized to effectively promote the Kingdom’s soft power, forge strategic partnerships, and enhance economic competitiveness as part of its foreign policy strategy, raise up the next generation of superstars, and is staged to play an important role for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 schedule.
Prof. Alaa Alghamdi
Saudi Scholar & Writer *