Qatar, Saudi Arabia bid to host 2030 Asian Games

The decision about the host city will be announced at the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly meeting in November.

This aerial photo taken on March 26, 2019 shows different coloured flowers used to create the logo of the 19th Asian Games near the under-construction venues in Hangzhou in China''s eastern Zhejiang p
The city of Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province, will host the Asian Games in 2022 [File: AFP]

Qatar and Saudi Arabia will compete for the hosting rights of the Asian Games in 2030, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced.

In a statement on Thursday, the OCA said it had received bids from Doha and Riyadh, the capital cities of the two neighbouring Gulf countries.

“The OCA is delighted to receive two strong bids for our Asian Games in 2030,” said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad al-Sabah, the body’s president.

“It shows the trust and confidence in the Olympic Movement in Asia and further enhances our reputation of hosting world-class sporting events on a major scale.”

The 45-member OCA had invited bids for the games by Wednesday.

The host city will be decided at the OCA General Assembly meeting in Sanya, China, on November 29.

“With these two bids for the 2030 Asian Games we now have stability and continuity in our sports movement for the next decade,” Sheikh Ahmad said.

“It puts us in an envious position in terms of our sports calendar and highlights again that Asia is a major partner in the global Olympic movement.”

Chinese city Hangzhou had been selected to host the next Games in 2022, with the 2026 edition scheduled to take place in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.

Qatar hosted the 15th edition of the Games in 2006, but Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.

“We believe it is time to bid to host it again to welcome all of Asia to our country,” said Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, president of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup, the biggest football event in the world.

“We want to put our expertise and capabilities in the service of Asian sport,” Sheikh Joaan said. “Through close cooperation with our friends in the Asian Olympic family, we promise to provide the best possible environment for athletes to present their best and encourage future generations of young people in the Asian continent.”

Saudi Arabia, alongside the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, imposed a blockade on Qatar and  cut diplomatic and trade ties with it on June 5, 2017.

The quartet accuses Qatar of “supporting terrorism” and being too close to regional rival, Iran. Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations as baseless.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies