According to the UK’s Independent newspaper, Saudi Arabia’s NEOM could be a surprise host of the 2030 Winter Olympics.
Following Qatar’s successful FIFA World Cup hosting and multiple bids from within the region for the Summer Olympics to be held in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has been named as a potential host for the Winter Olympics.
The connections appear as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) struggles to find a willing and capable host for future events.
Saudi Arabia to host Winter Olympics?
Few cities have the financial resources or infrastructure to host the Winter Olympics. According to investigations, the cost of Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022 will exceed $38 billion. Saudi Arabia, which has made no secret of its desire to host the FIFA World Cup in the near future, could fill the void.
The Independent report states: “While the climate on the Arabian peninsula would seem ill-suited to a Winter Olympics, Saudi Arabia last year announced that it will host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at a planned mountain resort in the Gulf Arab state’s $500bn Neom project.
“The Trojena development is expected to be completed in 2026 and will offer outdoor skiing”.
In October of last year, Saudi Arabia announced that it would host the Asian Winter Games in 2029. Over 32 countries will compete in the games, which will be held in the Kingdom for the first time in Western Asia. The games will be held at the Trojena resort, which will be located in Saudi Arabia’s highest mountain range as part of the $500 billion NEOM smart city project.
“With the unlimited support of the Saudi leadership and 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, which will continue to place the kingdom as one of the leading countries in sport,” said the Kingdom’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki while unveiling the tournament. The Kingdom has not made an official bid to host the Winter Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee, which oversees both the Summer and Winter Olympics, has postponed the decision to host the 2030 Games until next year. So far, only Salt Lake City in the United States and Sapporo in Japan have submitted a confirmed bid.