No kidding – Saudi Arabia wins Winter Games bid
Do you know the city of Neom? They don’t really exist yet. It is only just being built and will be as big as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Nevertheless, she was awarded the contract for the Asian Winter Games. In the middle of the desert.
sSkiing in the desert state: Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029. According to the Asian Olympic Committee, the deserts and mountains would become “the playground for winter sports.” As the umbrella organization announced, the city of Neom was unanimously elected at the 41st General Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
“This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and the entire Gulf region,” Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal said of a decision that is remarkable in at least two respects: first, the city of Neom has yet to be completed, and secondly. second, it is located on a piece of land where there is absolutely no snow.
The Gulf state, which has been criticized for human rights violations, is trying to improve its reputation with lucrative sporting events. With a lot of money, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman brings top sporting events into the country: including Formula 1, boxing, horse racing and currently especially golf. A series competing with the US PGA Tour has just been built from the ground up with nearly limitless resources.
The Asian Olympic Committee’s decision is another step towards establishing the kingdom as one of the leading countries in sports, Sport Minister Al Faisal wrote. In 2017, Saudi Arabia announced the construction of the megacity of Neom on the Red Sea, which is to be larger than Mecklenburg-West Pomerania with an area of 26,500 square kilometers. The city is being built in the northwest of the country on the borders with Egypt and Israel and is intended to compete with Dubai and Qatar in terms of tourism
Snow will only be artificial
Also in Neom, air taxis will operate on the road. The intention is that the mountain area of Trojena, which is part of the megacity, will be converted into a winter sports area. In seven years’ time, the winter games will take place there. The region is located at an altitude of 1500 to 2600 meters and it can get cold there too. But the climate is bone dry, snow will only be artificial.
The Asian Winter Games last took place in 2017, since then no suitable host country has been available. And so Trojena was the only applicant for 2029.