The Saudi Arabia team at the Beijing Winter Olympics
Photo: THOMAS PETER / REUTERS
The Asian Olympic Committee has approved a controversial billion-euro project and awarded the 2029 Asian Winter Games to Saudi Arabia.
The mountain area "Trojena", located near the planned city "Neom", which is currently under construction, was awarded the contract in Phnom Penh/Cambodia on Tuesday.
"This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and the entire Gulf region," said Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal.
47 competitions are to be held at the event.
Trojena, 50 kilometers from the coast, lies at an altitude of 1500 to 2600 m. In winter, temperatures sometimes drop to freezing point, but the area is bone dry.
Although all snow competitions must be held on artificial snow, the energy should come from 100 percent renewable sources.
A huge city is being built nearby
The nearby futuristic megacity Neom is currently being built on the Red Sea for an estimated 500 billion euros.
With the metropolis, the strictly autocratic state wants to compete with cities like Dubai or Doha.
The Asian Winter Games were last held in 2017.
Saudi Arabia took part in the Winter Olympics in Beijing for the first time in 2022, alpine skier Fayik Abdi was the only starter and finished 44th in the giant slalom.
"I never imagined that I could go skiing in my home country," he said on Tuesday.