Saudi Arabia chosen to host 2029 Asian Winter Games near futuristic city project Neom

Saudi Arabia’s bid centred on Trojena, which is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026; the Asian Winter Games have not been held since 2017 as the Olympic Council of Asia has struggled to find hosts

Last Updated: 04/10/22 1:44pm

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal has vowed the country’s winter sports project will “challenge perceptions”

Saudi Arabia has been chosen to host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Saudi candidacy was the only bidder for the continent’s Winter Games, which have not been held since 2017 due to the Olympic Council of Asia struggling to find hosts.

The bid centres on Trojena, which is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026 and the first outdoor ski resort in the Gulf, and the OCA confirmed on Tuesday it has been named as host.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund. However, construction is behind schedule at present and parts of the plan have been criticised as unrealistic.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host football’s 2030 World Cup is expected as well with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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