The winter games will take place in Neom, a futuristic megalopolis under construction in the northwest of the desert kingdom, on the Red Sea.
Le Monde with AFP
At a time when several major French cities are announcing, for environmental and humanitarian reasons, the World Cup in Qatar, the Asian Olympic Council (OCA) announced, Tuesday, October 4, that the desert kingdom of ‘Saudi Arabia will host the 2029 winter Asian games.
The sporting events will take place at Neom, a Futuristic megalopolis under construction in the northwest of the kingdom. “The deserts and the mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for winter sports,” the OCA said in a statement reporting the decision taken during its general assembly at Phnom Penh.
Located on the edges of the Red Sea, the Neom project, amounting to several hundred billions of dollars and carried by the powerful crown prince, Mohammed Ben Salman, has been a lot of talk since the first announcement made in 2017. Architects and economists questioned its feasibility.
Winter Asian Games should precisely take place in Trojena, Mountain Sector of Neom, “where temperatures descend below zero degree in winter and where temperatures throughout the year are generally 10 degrees lower than 10 degrees “By the sea, the promoters say on their website, without mentioning the question of precipitation. Trojena, which should be completed in 2026, will include ski slopes open all year round, an artificial freshwater lake, chalets, manors and luxury hotels, according to the same source.
” Create a winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert “
Mohammed Ben Salman occupies the position of chairman of the board of directors of Neom. Facto leader of the kingdom, he promised with this project to “redefine mountain tourism in the world”, while respecting the principles of ecotourism. The director of Neomi, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, said that Trojena would have “adequate infrastructure to create a winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert, and make these winter games an unprecedented global event”.
Winter Asian Games include skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and figure skating competitions, 47 events, including 28 on snow and 19 on ice, according to the OCA. “I never thought I would ski [one day] in my country,” Saudi alpine skier Fayik Abdile, quoted in the organization of the organization on Tuesday.
Sports events have multiplied in recent years in Saudi Arabia, accused by NGOs of wanting to divert attention to human rights attacks in the kingdom. In an interview with the France-Presse agency, the Minister of Saudi Sports, Prince Abdul Aziz Ben Turki Al-Faiçal, recently reported the wish of his country to organize one day of the Olympic Games.
An Egyptian official said last month that Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia had started discussions on a possible joint candidacy for the Football World Cup in 2030.