The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) today announced the three finalist teams in Sports for All Challenge for university students. The winning teams, tasked with developing models that would increase community engagement in physical activities, are competing for a top prize of US$10,000 for the winning team and US$5,000 and US$3,000 for the second- and third-place teams, respectively.

The Sports for All Challenge saw 18 teams of university students from both Saudi Arabia and the United States develop creative campaigns to encourage local communities to get active and participate in sports, and to contribute effectively towards improving the quality of life and wellness for participants.

The Sports for All Challenge, held across nine cities: Madinah, Al Majma’ah, Makkah, Dhahran, Riyadh, Ha’il, Jeddah, Fairfax, Virginia, and Carbondale, Illinois, saw teams from 12 universities take part, including 10 Saudi universities and two US universities. Three finalists from 18 participating teams reached the final round: Team ‘Endorphin’ from Umm Al-Qura University, Team ‘Your Health in Your Steps’ from University of Ha’il, and Team ‘150 Minutes’ from Southern Illinois University. 

SFA President, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, said, “The Sports for All Challenge seeks to generate new ideas from the young generation of Saudis to motivate and encourage society to get active and take up a sport. We know how talented and creative our young people are, and we want them to be leading the way in promoting healthier lifestyles.”

The Sports for All Challenge, unique in that it is being held across two countries, is an example of how anyone, anywhere can participate in sports of all kinds. Continued Prince Khaled: “We are encouraged at the approaches all teams are taking and look forward to these campaigns being rolled out, encouraging everyone to get active and participate in sport. This effort is a win-win for all involved.”

All teams were asked to create innovative approaches to encourage participation. Team Endorphin developed a campaign to support and prepare leaders to form their own Community Sports Groups (CSGs). Team ‘Endorphin’ proposed hosting a two-day camp for future sports leaders and encourage them to share their favorite sport with their community.

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Team ‘Your Health in Your Steps’ conceptualized collaborating with local authorities to connect 35- to 50-year-old women and men with existing sports services and create new opportunities. CSGs will be organized in each of the nine neighborhoods of Ha’il and host competitive sports tournaments among the groups. The team will create a neighborhood hiking challenge, encouraging audience participation with the goal of providing their target audience with information and experiences that will help prevent chronic health issues, such as diabetes and obesity.

Team ‘150 Minutes’ will target Saudi Arabian university students who are between the ages of 18 and 35, helping them to develop a regular exercise routine, which includes 150 minutes of exercise per week for optimum health. The team created a weekly exercise group on the Southern Illinois University campus that meets three times per week, applying the physical activity guidelines they have promoted. They are also planning a marathon on the SIU campus as well as in Saudi.

The winning team will be selected on January 29, 2020, in Riyadh, following two rounds of judging. The first round of judging selected the top three entries and the judging panel included Dr. Mazna Al Marzooqi, professor at King Saud University and a member of the Saudi Universities Sports Federation and Al Anoud Al Jalajel, a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer and CrossFit practitioner and board member of the Saudi Bodybuilding Federation.

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