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Saudi cyclist reaches Moscow to attend World Cup

Al Yahya who pedaled 5,145 kms over 75 days said the most daunting challenge was in Georgia’s mountains

Manama: A Saudi biker has arrived in Moscow after riding more than 5,000 kilometres across several countries, Saudi Elekhbariya TV reported.

Fahad Al Yahya needed 75 days to cover the 5,145 kilometres from the Saudi capital Riyadh to the Russian capital, just in time for the World Cup finals in which Saudi Arabia is participating.

Al Yahya said he faced the most daunting challenges in Georgia due to the language barrier and the inability to communicate easily and to the mountainous nature of the country.

“You need strength, stamina and a lot of resilience as you pedal your way across demanding natural elements,” he said.

Al Yahya pedaled through Turkey, Georgia and Russia, but there were no details how he reached Turkey.

He said that he had been warmly welcomed in all the countries he visited. The Russian reception and media attention were well beyond his expectations, especially that his ride was seen as among the activities on the sideline of the quadrennial tournament to be held on June 14 – July 15.

“I have carried with me the flag of Saudi Arabia which was graciously given to me by the Governor of Riyadh Prince Faysal Bin Badr in order to present it to the head of the Saudi football delegation as a message of hope and support,” Al Yahya, 38, said.

“Arriving in Moscow is a historic moment and a dream come true. I am so happy that I could fulfill my promise of presenting the Saudi flag to the football delegation.”

Saudi Arabia will take on hosts Russia in the opener of the month-long tournament on June 14. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would be at the stadium to watch the game.

Russia is hosting the World Cup finals for the first time in its history. The matches will be played in 11 cities across the country, Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekaterinburg.

For the first time in the history of the World Cup launched in 1930, four Arab countries will be present in the finals – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt were drawn in the same group, alongside Russia and Uruguay.

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