The General Sports Authority is harnessing our active potential.
Changing an entire society’s mindset towards physical activity is a challenge the General Sports Authority has taken on and is fully committed to. The Mass Participation Department (MP), established under the authority’s umbrella, has been creating a strategy to engage the public and build opportunities for residents to lead healthier lifestyles.
When the MP first rolled up its sleeves to start the work, it conducted the first comprehensive study on sports and physical activity in the country. It was found that Saudi Arabia pales in comparison to other societies. Eighty percent of the population admitted to not have engaged in sports throughout their lives and only 13 percent were considered to be living an active lifestyle based on a 30 minutes per week benchmark. A lot of medical and health issues today are related to inactivity and poor lifestyle habits.
To improve these numbers and foster a generation of future athletes and active citizens, the MP has been at the forefront of uniting different sectors to produce avenues for the public to play, come together and get moving.
Aligned with the vision 2030, the main initiatives are divided into eight pillars: Schools and universities, community sports groups, private partnerships, municipalities, mass participation events, coaching and volunteering, communication campaigns, and insights and monitoring.
Community Sports Groups
One of the biggest undertakings of the MP is to help foster and sustain community sports groups. The first and largest database of groups from all regions has been established, allowing people to find out what options are available.
Groups that were traditionally hard to track down are now readily available, thanks to the MP. To discover other enthusiasts of a particular sport, simply search the hashtag: #مجتمع_صحي_رياضي
The MP offers support to new groups and provides them with assistance to get started, conduct activities and increase membership.
If you need help establishing or running a community sports group, contact: MP@gsa.gov.sa
PNU, the Activity Hub for Women
Acknowledging that women in Saudi Arabia are eager to get more active, the MP is working on a program at Princess Nourah University (PNU) that will see various facilities activated in the university.
PNU and the General Sports Authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to ensure the support of women’s participation in sports. Female gyms, outdoor facilities, collaborations with federations to develop programs for women, and sports events are all expected to be part of the partnership.
In a short amount of time, the MP has already managed to shake up the social scene of Saudi Arabia and inspire people to pursue healthier activities. The recently concluded Spartan races in Riyadh and Jeddah are just a sample of what’s in store.