Tennis, padel standouts go for the gold in Dhahran
Abdullah Alfaraj and Hassan Al-Abdullah have already represented the Kingdom at GCC padel tournaments.
The U.S. had Phelps but now Aramco has Abdullah Alfaraj — can he make it to a record breaking four gold medals in the Community Championship?
Padel has the highest level of entries in the Community Championship and the highest level when it comes to nationally ranked athletes in the Kingdom.
“The goal and legacy project this year is to build the Community Championship 2024, to increase participation again, but also to support our top level athletes and look at ways we can improve them with coaching, facilities, and creating a high performance environment to help showcase Aramco employee talents in Saudi Games and global events,” said Matthew J. Williams, Tournament director.
After more than two decades of playing tennis at the highest levels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Alfaraj and Hassan Al-Abdullah expanded their prowess to a new sport — padel, a game that combines elements of tennis and squash.
A lifetime of preparing, and a new sport
Alfaraj started playing tennis at 5 years old with his older brother Ali, under the encouragement of their father. His first championship in his first tournament at age 10 was the turning point in setting his path for tennis. He was invited to join the Saudi national team after winning that first tournament and has continued with the national team in the age groups of U14, U16, U18, and men’s, participating in various local and international tournaments.
Al-Abdullah started playing tennis at 7 years old. He represented the Saudi National Team in different age groups, and he is currently a tennis coach at the Dhahran Junior Tennis Association.
Al-Abdullah and his tennis partner started their Padel journey by winning first place in Saudi Arabia’s first official Padel tournament held in Riyadh in 2019. The tournament was organized by the Saudi Tennis Federation in an effort to promote the new sport in the Kingdom. Two years later, the game of Padel has grown immensely in the Kingdom, which led to forming a Saudi Padel Committee, under the supervision of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic committee.
Alfaraj and Al-Abdullah, again, won first place in the first organized Padel tournament by the Saudi Padel Committee. They participated and won many national and international tournaments, and represented Saudi Arabia in two GCC tournaments as part of the first Saudi National Padel team. In addition, both players finished off 2022 tied as number one seeds in Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah Alfaraj advanced to the final rounds and will represent Dhahran in the playoffs of:
• Tennis – singles
• Tennis – doubles
• Padel – men’s doubles
• Padel – mixed doubles
Hassan Al-Abdullah advanced to the final rounds and will represent Dhahran in the playoffs of:
• Padel – men’s doubles
Alfaraj and Al-Abdullah are thrilled about Aramcons’ participation in the Community Championship this year. “It is a great opportunity for us as top athletes to inspire our community, to engage in sports and show them that it’s possible to perform at top level even while having a full-time job at Saudi Aramco,” the pair said.
Alfaraj added, “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. It takes passion, determination and sacrifices to be more resilient when encountering obstacles to achieve and maintain such high performance.”
Alfaraj is excited about the Kingdom’s new emphasis on healthy lifestyles and sport, through the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative. “There has been such a big change in society; there has been a significant increase in the amateur-level practice of sports, which is one of the main objectives of the vision,” Alfaraj said. “There is much more support for sports in the Kingdom, from top to bottom. As a country, we will be able to prepare elite athletes to be among the top in the world.”
The pair appreciates the excellent work that was done by the Community Championship committee in organizing such a wonderful event. It’s the first year they will participate in the championship, and they are looking forward to playing the final rounds in March.
Don’t forget to come to Ras Tanura on March 3 for the Opening Ceremony and enter into a competition to win a Technogym Spin bike.
The contests will take place in Dhahran on March 3-11.
Caption for top photo: Abdullah Alfaraj has the opportunity to make it four gold medals in a row in Aramco’s Community Championships. The finals begin this weekend and run until Super Saturday on March 11.