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Mikati welcomes basketball champions in celebratory meeting
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

NNA - In a distinguished gathering on Wednesday, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati received a joint delegation from "Al-Riyadi" Basketball Club, the Lebanese champions, and "Hekmeh" Club. The meeting was attended by Minister of Youth and Sports, George Kallas, Hekmeh’s honorary president MP Jihad Pakradouni, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Judge Mahmoud Makkieh, along with members of the administrative bodies of both clubs, led by Mazen Tabbara for Al Riyadi and Ragheb Haddad for Hekmeh.

Prime Minister Mikati commenced the meeting by welcoming the team members and emphasized the significance of basketball.

“Basketball has become immensely important, gaining prominence in Lebanon, regionally, and internationally. The successes achieved are a source of pride for us all. To me, Al Riyadi and Hekmeh are indistinguishable, and ultimately, everyone has demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship. Our goal is to showcase the best and the finest through this competition,” Mikati said.

“We take pride in your accomplishments and encourage you to continue. The most crucial aspect for us is to conclude the game in the spirit of sportsmanship, regardless of the winner. It is essential that we all remain united and extend our best wishes to each other,” Mikati added in an address to his visitors.

In turn, Minister Kallas said, “Sports have proven that Lebanon continues to smile. We often spoke of sportsmanship, and now we emphasize the importance of sports ethics, which everyone has upheld. I thank the Prime Minister for the invitation and the warm reception. Just as the Serail hosts political and diplomatic delegations, it joyfully welcomes sports delegations today, specifically Al Riyadi and Hekmeh, and through them, all the youth in Lebanon. The Ministry of Youth and Sports provides moral support, and I assure you, Prime Minister, that all sports teams are working diligently.”

For his part, MP Pakradouni remarked, “I believe that for the first time in a long while, both Al Riyadi and Hekmeh team members are genuinely happy. Hekmeh’s remarkable journey and Al Riyadi’s championship victory in Lebanon are, in themselves, significant achievements.”

Ragheb Haddad, President of Hekmeh Club, noted, “I want to highlight Hekmeh’s comeback, which has led to this beautiful scene today. The match between Hekmeh and Al Riyadi was highly anticipated by the entire Lebanese populace. Basketball has once again become a household name, engaging both the young and the old, which is incredibly important for the younger generation. Despite the crises, this week has showcased the best image of Lebanon. We respect Al Riyadi, maintain good relations with their administration, and our players share exceptional camaraderie, having played together on joint teams. Any tensions that arise during matches are purely within the bounds of sportsmanship.”

Mazen Tabbara, President of Al Riyadi Club, stated, “The derby is the essence of basketball, propelling Lebanese sports to greater heights and placing us on the international map, which is a source of pride. This responsibility, the stewardship of basketball, instills ambition in our youth, steering them away from many vices and portraying Lebanon as a land of genuine coexistence. Representing Lebanon and holding the basketball championship for an extended period, we aim to showcase Lebanon’s best image internationally. We have special responsibilities in the diaspora and the Gulf countries and wish both teams success in achieving the highest levels of success.”

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كلمة الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي في مؤتمر الأردن