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Saudi Arabia’s sporting ambitions and the princess behind them

Saudi Arabia has been making headlines with its ambitious and aggressive strategy to host and sponsor major sporting events around the world. From football to boxing, from golf to Formula One, the oil-rich kingdom has been splashing its cash and influence to secure a prominent place in the global sports arena. But who is the woman who plays a key role in this endeavor? Meet Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, the first female ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the US and a powerful figure in the Saudi sports scene.

A royal with a vision

Princess Reema is a member of the ruling Saudi royal family and a close ally of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the country. She is also the head of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), where she represents the interests of her nation.

Princess Reema has a vision of transforming Saudi Arabia into a modern and progressive society, where women have more opportunities and freedoms. She is also a champion of sports as a tool for social change and development, especially for young people and women.

Saudi Arabia’s sporting ambitions and the princess behind them

She has been instrumental in introducing reforms and initiatives that have opened up the sports sector for women in Saudi Arabia, such as allowing women to attend stadiums, creating women’s football leagues, and sending female athletes to international competitions.

She has also been leading the efforts to bring major sporting events to Saudi Arabia, such as the Formula E race, the Italian Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, the Dakar Rally, and several boxing title fights. She has also been lobbying for Saudi Arabia to host the Olympics in the future, as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy and enhance its global image.

A controversial strategy

However, not everyone is impressed by Saudi Arabia’s sporting ambitions and Princess Reema’s role in them. Many critics have accused the kingdom of using sports as a way to whitewash its human rights violations and divert attention from its involvement in regional conflicts, such as the war in Yemen.

Some have also questioned the sincerity and effectiveness of Princess Reema’s reforms, arguing that they are cosmetic and superficial, and that they do not address the deeper issues of gender inequality and repression in Saudi society.

Moreover, some have raised concerns about the environmental and social impacts of hosting large-scale sporting events in Saudi Arabia, such as the displacement of local communities, the destruction of natural habitats, and the emission of greenhouse gases.

A powerful player

Despite these criticisms, Princess Reema remains a powerful player in the sporting world. She has forged strong relationships with influential figures and organizations in sports governance, media, and business. She has also leveraged her diplomatic skills and connections to promote Saudi Arabia’s interests and agenda on various platforms.

Princess Reema is not only a rare woman in the inner circle of Saudi power, but also a key actor in shaping Saudi Arabia’s sporting web. She is a person to watch as Saudi Arabia continues to pursue its ambitious and controversial strategy to become a global sports hub.

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