Saudi Arabia has been awarded hosting rights to the 2029 edition of the Asian Winter Games multi-sport event.
The Games will take place at Trojena, a planned resort in the under-construction city of Neom. It will be the first edition of the Asian Winter Games to take place in a West Asian city.
Saudi Arabia was announced as the host city earlier today (Tuesday) by the Olympic Council of Asia. The bid was presented by Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, the Saudi Minister of Sport and president of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
Prince Abdulaziz said: “This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and Gulf countries. It is due to the generous support offered to the Saudi sports sector that significantly contributes to the progress of sport and all other fields in the Kingdom for the purpose of delivering the objectives of the Saudi 2030 vision.
“We thank the Olympic Council of Asia for granting us this opportunity. Trojena will be a year-round destination for winter sports and it is fully funded and backed by government guarantees. It will highlight the enormous potential and great infrastructure of Saudi Arabia to host and organise international-level sport competitions and Games successfully.”
Neom is a new $500bn (£440bn/€507bn) city development project in northern Saudi Arabia. Neom chief executive Nadhmi Al-Nasr said that Trojena, which is scheduled to be finished by 2026, will have a “suitable infrastructure to create the winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert”.
The 2029 Games will feature two competition clusters. A snow cluster will house sports such as alpine skiing, snowboard and slalom, while an ice cluster will be used for ice hockey, figure skating and curling.
A total of 47 sports will be contested at the Games. The Trojena resort will be 100% powered by renewable energy, with 14 luxury hotels to encircle the sports venues.
The Asian Winter Games have not been held since 2017 and Trojena was the only candidate to host the 2029 event.
The Games will be the latest major sporting event to take place in Saudi Arabia. Last month, the Saudi Motorsport Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dorna Sports, the commercial rights-holder for MotoGP, with a view to staging an annual grand prix in the country.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia staged its first Formula 1 grand prix, and the country also hosted Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Oleksandr Usyk in August. It was a second fight in the country for British boxer Joshua, who has been urged by Amnesty International to speak out on the country’s human rights record.