Asian Games Showdown: Qatar Vs Saudi Arabia

(ATR) The review begins for two rivals in the Middle East bidding for the 2030 Asian Games.


(ATR) The review begins for two rivals in the Middle East bidding for the 2030 Asian Games.

Doha, host of the 2006 Asiad and Riyadh, which has yet to host the event, are the only two candidates to meet the October 4 deadline to file with the Olympic Council of Asia.

The theme of the Saudi bid is "Transforming the Future".

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Alfaisal Al-Saud, the chairman of Riyadh 2030 and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee said that the Asian Games would be a point of pride.

"We are passionate about hosting our first ever Asian Games," he says in a YouTube published presentation.

"It is a national priority, with total, focused and unwavering political and public support. It is the number one objective of the Saudi sports movement and the dream of our entire nation," said the Saudi sports leader.

Doha 2030 President Sheikh JoaanBin Hamad Al-Thani says the Qatar bid will build upon its experience as host of the 2006 Asian Games, the 2022 FIFA World Cup and other international sports events.

"Our bid is born out of our strong belief that sport has the power to drive social change and foster peace and understanding," he said.

"The games will build on and champion the significant advancement that has been made in Qatar in promoting gender equality. It will also be games that welcome and respects people of all genders, races and cultures," said the Sheikh, who is also president of the Qatar NOC.

The motto of the Qatari bid is "Your Gateway".

Chinese sport expert Wei Jizhong will visit the two cities later this month to evaluate the bids.

For three years now Saudi Arabia and Qatar have waged a diplomatic battle that began when the Qataris were accused of supporting terrorism. Saudi Arabia closed its border with Qatar and suspended diplomatic relations, a move followed by seven other countries in the region.

The decision on a host for 2030 is scheduled for December 16 at the OCA General Assembly in Muscat, Oman, a nation which has maintained relations with Qatar.

Reported by Ed Hula.