Jeddah skyline Saudi Arabia
Jeddah have charted a long term programme to project themselves as a sporting hub, with the Saudi Arabian city set to host their first Formula One GP next year. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Saudi Arabia is planning a different sort of experience for participating nations at the 2030 Asian Games.

The Riyadh 2030 Bid Committee has released details of a programme that aims to spot talented young athletes and ensure National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have a comfortable experience in the Saudi Arabian capital in 10 years’ time.

The ‘Asian Olympic Family Programme’ has been created to complement Riyadh’s venues, training facilities and hosting plan as the city aims to outbid neighbouring Doha for the rights to stage the 2030 Asian Games.

Led by Prince Fahd Bin Jalawi Bin Abdul Aziz, Director General of Riyadh 2030 and Vice-President of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee (SAOC), the Kingdom’s bid has been highlighted with a “transformative celebration of sport”.

The Riyadh 2030 Bid Committee has insisted that athletes and NOCs will be in a position to benefit from a range of services during the build-up and throughout the event. Among the range of facilities would be access to the Athletes’ Village complete with free high-speed wireless broadband services, a training centre and recovery facilities, 24-hour medical services and an athlete transport system.

The Bid Committee said NOCs would receive complimentary travel and accommodation at the Athletes’ Village, including office and medical space.

Along with these benefits, the Asian Olympic Family Programme will include the creation of camps to identify young talent starting from 2023, academies to offer NOC delegates an event management Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification at Riyadh’s King Saud University and a young ambassadors scheme.

There are also plans for a fun-run relay that will be developed in every Asian country, with the male and female winners getting an invitation to the 2030 Asian Games’ opening ceremony as part of an exchange programme.

Saudi Arabia has never staged the Asian Games before, while this is the second occasion for Qatar following its success with the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

“Athletes and NOCs are fundamental to the smooth running of Riyadh 2030 and these plans outline our commitment to creating an inclusive community for the whole Asian Olympic family to enjoy,” Prince Fahd was quoted.

“We are proud to introduce important legacy programmes that will continue the spread of the Asian Olympic Movement and form strong bonds between member nations. Our Asian Games Camp, Asian Games Academy and cultural activation programmes will allow knowledge and resources to be shared between NOCs and will guarantee Riyadh 2030 leaves an enduring legacy across the whole of Asia,” he added.

Currently, an Evaluation Committee from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has been visiting Saudi Arabia while taking a look at the proposed hosting areas within the country. The OCA is expected to choose the host for the 2030 Games at its General Assembly to be held in Muscat, Oman on December 16.