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04th Oct 2022

Winter games set to be hosted in Saudi Arabia in city that doesn’t yet exist

Jack Peat

A ski village at Neom will host the tournament

Saudi Arabia is set to host the 2029 Asia Winter Games in a mountain resort that doesn’t even exist yet.

The Gulf Arab state announced it has won a bid to host the tournament at its yet-t0-be-built Trojena development within the $500 billion flagship Neom project.

The resort will offer outdoor skiing, a man-made freshwater lake and a nature reserve, according to the project’s website.

“With the unlimited support by the Saudi leadership & HRH Crown Prince to the sport sector we are proud to announce we have won the bid to host AWG TROJENA2029 as the first country in west Asia,” Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal said on Twitter.

Neom – which will be built in the deserts of northwestern Saudi Arabia – is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s most ambitious project under the kingdom’s Vision 2030 development plan to reduce reliance on oil and transform the economy, including by developing sports using the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

The 26,500-square-km (10,230-square-mile) high-tech development on the Red Sea, will include zero-carbon city “The Line” as well as industrial and logistics areas.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the Olympic Council of Asia said in a statement announcing its decision to award the Games to Neom.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh, while a campaign to host the 2030 Football World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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