The planned Trojena region of the city of Neom in Saudi Arabia is to host the 2029 edition of the Asian Winter Games, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced today (October 4).
The proposal was approved by delegates at the OCA’s general assembly and contracts signed by the body’s president President Raja Randhir Singh and the Saudi minister of sport and president of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal.
It will, unsurprisingly, be the first time Saudi Arabia has hosted the quadrennial multi-sports event and, indeed, the first time a West Asian city has hosted it.
The announcement is all the more notable for the fact that Trojena does not yet exist.
Plans for the destination were only announced at the beginning of March as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative to diversify its economy and the project is scheduled for completion in 2026.
It is intended to be a “global destination for mountain tourism” offering “year-round outdoor skiing and adventure sports.”
Plans for Neom itself were only announced in 2017, with construction having begun in 2019.
Located 50km from the Gulf of Aqaba coast in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia, Trojena will cover an area of nearly 60sq km with elevations ranging from 1,500m to 2,600m.
Temperatures are said to drop below zero Celsius in winter and year-round temperatures are generally 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the region.
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, chief executive of Neom, said: “Trojena will have a suitable infrastructure to create the winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert, to make this Winter Games an unprecedented global event.”
The event will comprise a single Asian Games Village, a snow cluster of events including alpine skiing, snowboard, and slalom, and an ice cluster for the likes of ice hockey, figure skating, and curling.
In total, 47 events are planned – 28 snow-based and 19 ice-based.
In addition, it is claimed Trojena 2029 will be “powered 100% with renewable energy.”
Prince Abdulaziz said: “This is a great victory for the Saudi nation and Gulf countries. It is due to the generous support offered to the Saudi sports sector that significantly contributes to the progress of sport and all other fields in the Kingdom for the purpose of delivering the objectives of the Saudi 2030 vision.
“We thank the Olympic Council of Asia for granting us this opportunity … It will highlight the enormous potential and great infrastructure of Saudi Arabia to host and organize international-level sport competitions and Games successfully.”
The award of the Asian Winter Games to Trojena is the latest sporting tie-up announced for Neom, which since 2020 has variously agreed deals with esports organization Blast, video games developer Riot, the Asian Football Confederation, motor racing team McLaren Racing, and the Extreme E all-electric SUV motor racing series.
The last edition of the Asian Winter Games, meanwhile, was held in Japan’s Sapporo and Obihiro cities in 2017. Hosting rights for no other editions of the games have currently been awarded.