Passion grips Baloot championship as women face off men for the first time

February 17, 2020

By Amal Al-Said

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH – Eagerness, passion and joy gripped the Riyadh Winter Baloot Championship as women faced off men for the first time in one of the most popular games in the Kingdom.

The championship is being held at the Riyadh Front from Feb. 13 – 22, 2020, with gamers competing for prizes worth a total of over SR2 million.

Baloot, a card game, which presumably originated in France, is popular in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. The game is played with four players divided into two teams.

Twenty women teams are competing against their male counterparts in the championship, which is being supervised by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation of Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS).

Commenting on the event, female competitor Farah Bint Fahd expressed her eagerness to take part in the Baloot Championship for the first time in the Kingdom, despite the fact that she has been playing the game for the past four years.

Farah added that the atmosphere of stiff competition, enthusiasm and passion was predominant during the match between her in partnership with a close friend and a men’s team.

Farah lauded the magnificent organization of the championship and the role of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) in giving ladies a chance to participate.

Meanwhile, Jawaher Al-Mansour said: “Thanks to Allah Almighty, our participation in the championship today was very successful, as my close friend and I defeated the men’s team in the first stage.”

She added: “I have been playing the game for six years with my female colleagues, as we learned the game together. We found in this game a lot of entertainment, enjoyment and a way to sharpen our intelligence.”

Expressing her enthusiasm, Nawwarah Al-Abdali said that she was eagerly waiting for the championship with patience to prove to those around her that she was capable of taking part in the Baloot Championship, the game she has been practicing for the last four years.

She added that everything in the championship was fantastic in terms of organization, polite conduct of the organizers and fair competition. She commended the support the GEA is providing to such events and ensuring women’s participation in them.

Another participant Deema Al-Mutairi said: “I have been playing “Baloot” for the past six years with my friends during our gatherings. My deep interest in the game emanates from the necessity to think carefully before taking any step and to create steps leading to a win. I’ve chosen my teammate in the game, who understands me fully and knows how to play the game. I hope we continue to win till we reach the finals.”

Meanwhile, Alaa Al-Thaqafi said: “The championship has fulfilled its promises. The organization was superb and women’s participation in the championship for the first time is a positive change for the championship.” She also expressed her gratitude toward the GEA for putting in great efforts to make such events successful.

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