Neom to redefine liveability, business and conservation, says CEO

Female Saudi football players to join Neom beach soccer games in future

The final day of the NEOM Beach Soccer Cup saw the sport's leaders in Saudi Arabia.
Powered by automated translation

While the world may know Neom for The Line, a multibillion-dollar giga city set to be powered by renewable energy, Neom has other big plans, its chief executive tells The National.

Neom is championing sports, a part of Saudi Vision 2030, in a sustainable way, becoming synonymous with certain international events.

It is looking to become the annual destination of beach sports as it is hosting the Neom Beach Games 2023 including the Beach Soccer Cup, which finished at the weekend, triathlon, basketball and the Titan desert cycling challenge.

Nadhmi Al Nasr, chief executive of Neom, said it aims to "redefine liveability, conservation and innovation in industries".

Since July 2018, Mr Al Nasr has been responsible for leading Neom’s bold vision and programme.

He began his career at Saudi Aramco in 1978, then became vice president of the Kaust Development Programme.

By 2009, he was appointed by Royal Decree to serve on the advisory board of the Supreme Economic Council.

In 2017, he was appointed the interim president of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre.

"Neom will respond to global challenges and drive economic diversification in the kingdom, in line with Saudi Vision 2030, while redefining liveability, business and conservation through the advancement and innovation of various industries," Mr Al Nasr tells The National.

"Neom’s sectors will play a pivotal role in the success of the project, and in realising our commitment to economic advancement."

On Saturday morning, Jan Paterson, managing director of Neom Sport called the Beach Games a milestone in the company's history.

She told The National that there are plans for Saudi women to join beach soccer games in the future.

Joan Cusco, president of Beach Soccer Worldwide, was full of praise for Neom and called the Beach Soccer Cup “the best event of the season".

The final day of the men’s Neom Beach Soccer Cup action took place on Saturday evening in Neom, with Brazil winning the championship in their final against Japan.

This year’s event is the third edition of the Neom Beach Soccer Cup.

Japan and Brazil reached the final of the Neom Beach Soccer Cup 2023 after winning their final group matches against Saudi Arabia and Spain.

In the women's matches, Spain beat Brazil in the final on Saturday, to secure the championship title.

Mr Cusco said he hopes to see more women take part in the games in the next season.

Majid from the Saudi team told The National it is an honour to play for the national beach soccer team and particularly in Neom, where the environment is designed to support athletes and give them the best opportunities.

Many locals from Tabuk came to support the Saudi team and watch international matches at the Neom Beach Soccer Cup venue during the weekend.

Neom arranged buses for locals who brought their children to take part in the games and activities in the fan zone.

Located in the heart of the action in the Beach Games Hub, this year the fan zone held live entertainment and sporting activities for visitors.

They offered free games including Beach Volleyball, and a Basketball Tree, as well as a Slack Line, Football Pool, Tic Tac Toe Basketball, Foosball Table, Balance Board and Teqball.

Teenagers and adults enjoyed the Zipline and giant slide.

Omar Mohasin, a Saudi national from Tabuk, said he came with three of his friends to watch the game.

"We are sad that Saudi lost to Japan but hope next year they can be the champions," he told The National.

"Events like these are very important for the community and sports in Saudi Arabia. We are proud to be hosting the Beach Soccer World Cup."

The Neom Beach Games is a series of major sports held over five weeks.

Five major events attract more than 800 international athletes from about 25 countries, national federations and international rights holders in Neom.

Updated: October 30, 2023, 10:26 AM