OCA Inspectors Wrap Up in Riyadh

(ATR) The Saudi Arabia bid for the 2030 Asian Games appears to have cleared an important test.

(ATR) The Saudi Arabia bid for the 2030 Asian Games appears to have cleared an important test.

A three day visit by a team from the Olympic Council of Asia comes to a close in Riyadh with words of praise.

Andrey Kryukov, chair of the OCA Evaluation Commission said the bid from Saudi Arabia shows great potential.

"The committee is very happy with what it saw and believe that Riyadh has a good potential to host a successful Games in 2030," he said at the conclusion of the visit to the capital city of the kingdom.

Doha, Qatar is the other city in the campaign for 2030. Kryukov and the nine member commission will travel to Doha next for their inspection tour of the bids. The OCA general assembly is scheduled to choose a host city on December 16. Doha hosted the 2006 Asian Games, Saudi Arabia has yet to hold the event.

Members of the commission visited all of the key venues planned for the Asian Games, including King Fahd International Stadium and the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Riyadh 2030 Bid Committee President Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Alfaisal says he believes that the OCA group could see firsthand the economical and self-sustaining venue plan being offered. Nearly all the venues are existing and any new facilities are part of long-range plans outside of the Asian Games.

"Webelieve we have demonstrated Riyadh 2030’s ground-breaking, risk-free and transformative vision to the members of the OCA Evaluation Committee and I thank them for visiting our city. With strong presentations and inspirational visits to key host locations, we have highlighted the commercial certainty our bid would provide and our modern, visually stunning and sustainable hosting vision," said the Prince, who also serves as president of the Saudi Arabia NOC.

"We are opening up Saudi Arabia to the world," he says.

At the closing press conference November 10, the Saudi Olympic leader promised journalists would enjoy total freedom of the press.

While the range of international sports events in Saudi Arabia has been limited, leaders of the Riyadh bid say they will be able to fill the stadiums and arenas for the Asian Games. The program for the Asian Games is arguably the most extensive among the major multi sport events in the world with upwards of four dozen sports events with athletes numbering 11,000.

Originally the OCA evaluation team was to be led by Chinese sports expert Wei Jizhong, according to announcements earlier this year by the OCA. However Kryukov confirms to Around the Rings that he is the one leading the group. Kryukov, a key figure in Kazakhstan sport, is active in OCA work and is a member of the FINA bureau where he handles water polo for the Federation. No explanation yet from OCA on the change in personnel for the evaluation commission.

Reported by Ed Hula.