The 2029 edition of the sports gala Asian Winter games is all set to be conducted – in a $500 billion city that doesn't exist yet.
What is this: Saudi Arabia on 4th Oct 2022 confirmed that it has won a bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games at a planned mountain resort in the Gulf Arab state’s $500bn (£440bn) flagship Neom project, at the Trojena development, the Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal said on Twitter.
Hilarity ensures when the status of the hi-tech megacity Noem city is revealed- that it is expected to be completed only in 2026.
Past background: Neom 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.
Further: The games are slated to take place in Trojena, a development within Neom that includes a year-round ski complex, a freshwater lake, and luxury hotels, according to Neom's official website. Trojena is about 30 miles from the Saudi coastline and winter temperatures are often below freezing.
Why is it in the news: If this truly does come to fruition, Saudi Arabia would become the first country in West Asia to ever host the Winter Asian Games.
Moreover, the project is one of the most controversial in Saudi history. Planners, architects, and economists have expressed skepticism about the feasibility of Neom, which touts technologies that don't yet exist.
Despite being five years since the announcement of the city, developments and the degree of construction remains scarce.