Asian Winter Games 2029: Competitions in the Middle of the Desert of Saudi Arabia

Status: 04.10.2022 16:22

Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 – in an unbuilt ski resort in the middle of the desert.

The Asian Olympic Committee has awarded the 2029 Asian Winter Games to Saudi Arabia. The mountain area “Trojena” was commissioned on Tuesday (4 October 2022) in Phnom Penh/Cambodia. Trojena is part of the futuristically planned city of “Neom”, which will stretch 170 kilometers along the Red Sea. So far, however, only a few buildings of the estimated $500 billion project have been completed. Most of the area is still an arid desert area – including Trojena.

“This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and the entire Gulf region,” Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal said after the bid. 47 matches will be held at the event.

Promise of 100 percent renewable energy

Trojena is located 50 kilometers from the coast at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,600 meters. In winter, temperatures sometimes drop to freezing, but the area is bone dry. Trojena would become the first winter sports area in the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Image: Reuters/Handout

While all snow competitions must be held on artificial snow, the energy must come from 100 percent renewable sources. However, the water requirement would also be enormous. Trojena is to become a luxury ski village with family and wellness offers.

Ambitions of Saudi Arabia

The megacity “The Line”, the heart of the Neom project, will house nine million inhabitants in a 170-kilometer building. With Neom, the strictly autocratic Saudi Arabia wants to compete with cities such as Dubai or Doha.

The regime has been criticized for human rights violations and is making intensive efforts to host major sporting events. Saudi Arabia organizes, among other things, a Formula 1 Grand Prix and was awarded the contract for the Asian Games in 2034.

The Asian Winter Games last took place in 2017, since then there have been problems finding a host country. Trojena was the only candidate for the 2029 Games.

Fayik Adbi first Saudi Winter Olympian

Saudi Arabia took part in the Beijing Winter Olympics for the first time in 2022, alpine skier Fayik Abdi was the lone starter and finished 44th in giant slalom. “I never thought I could ski in my home country,” he said on Tuesday.


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