The Global Association of International Sports Federations has today named Saudi Arabia as the host of its returning World Combat Games in 2023.

The multi-sport event, comprising 15 disciplines, is to return after a decade's absence, in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The last edition of the games took place in Saint Petersburg in Russia in 2013, and plans for events in 2019 and 2021 did not come to fruition.

The sports at the games will comprise aikido, arm wrestling, boxing, judo, ju-jitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, muaythai, sambo, savate, sumo, taekwondo, wrestling and wushu.

Despite widespread concerns over the country's human rights record, Saudi Arabia has become a regular destination for prominent sports events.

In a statement, Stephan Fox, vice president of GAISF and a former muaythai world champion, said: “Saudi Arabia is an ideal choice for this post-pandemic event showcasing an exchange of culture from around the world and is the perfect bridge between elite sport and local communities. The bid presented by Saudi is robust and inspiring.

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"The vision for this event will bring a festival celebratory atmosphere. There will be workshops by leading martial art masters, educational conferences and the first World Martial Arts Gala, honouring the legends of martial arts and combat sports.”