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Saudi Arabia awards citizenship to top foreign athletes

The Saudi government has granted citizenship to several elite foreign athletes through a royal decree.

This decree aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to “grant Saudi citizenship to people whose distinguished expertise serves the nation in various fields,” according to a report of the Saudi Press Agency.

Among the athletes granted Saudi citizenship are three women:

  • Maryam Al-Tamimi, an American footballer selected for the Saudi women’s national team and currently playing for Al-Ittihad. She was instrumental in leading her former team, the Sharqiya Flames, to first place in the Eastern Province League in 2021.
  • Maysan Hussein, a 15-year-old French tennis player who has won multiple championships and tournaments in Saudi Arabia, including finishing as the runner-up in the women’s singles event at the 2023 Saudi Games.
  • Tasneem Al-Qassab, a Syrian Muay Thai fighter who won the 2021 Saudi Women’s Championship and placed third in the Virtual World Championship that same year, representing Saudi Arabia.
  • Earlier, Saudi Arabia has issued a royal decree granting citizenship to a number of scientists, medical doctors, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and distinguished talents with unique expertise and specializations.
  • According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the announcement made on Thursday underscores Saudi Arabia’s ongoing search for global talents with unique competencies.
  • The Kingdom seeks individuals with exceptional talents and expertise in fields that can contribute to the development of various sectors throughout the Kingdom to achieve its Vision 2030 goals.
  • The Vision 2030 initiative reflects Saudi Arabia’s keen interest in attracting, investing in, and retaining exceptional creative minds. It also highlights the Kingdom’s ambitions to create an environment that fosters innovation and development.
  • This announcement follows a similar royal decree issued in 2021 that granted Saudi citizenship to the first group of distinguished talents in these fields.
  • What is Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030?
  • Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 was launched in 2016 under the directive of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according Al Arabiya News.
  • It is an ambitious blueprint that aims to create a “diversified, innovative, and world-leading nation” through the Kingdom’s deeply rooted cultural heritage and strategic advantages, according to the official webpage of the initiative.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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