— Published 31 October 2022

A first in Saudi Arabia

A first. An Israeli triathlete, Sachar Sagiv (photo above), participated on Saturday 29 October in a stage of the international circuit in Saudi Arabia. He took part in a Super League event held in Neom. It is true that his performance did not allow him to appear in the ranking, as a fall in the cycling course forced him to withdraw. But his participation, the first by an Israeli in Saudi Arabia in any sport, is “a very significant breakthrough”, in the words of Israel Olympic Committee president Yael Arad. “In the past year, we have seen many Arab states accept the fact that hosting an international tournament means hosting Israelis,” she said in a statement. “This is a growing trend and the real power of normalisation between nations, and especially between peoples.” Saudi Arabia does not recognise Israel, but the kingdom opened its airspace to Israeli planes last July, and allowed delegations of Israeli businessmen to enter its territory.