Riyadh named as hosts of 2034 Asian Games

Decision made during Olympic Council of Asia meeting in Oman on Wednesday

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Sports and Youth, gives a press conference after the announcement of Doha's selection as host of the 21st Asian Games 2030 during the 39th Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly Meeting in Oman's capital Muscat on December 16, 2020.  / AFP / Haitham AL-SHUKAIRI
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Riyadh was named as host of the 2034 Asian Games by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on Wednesday.

An executive board meeting of the OCA in Oman unanimously approved the proposal to pick Saudi Arabia as host of the 2034 edition and Qatar as the 2030 games venue.

Voting was delayed by hours after technical problems with the online system, in place to allow some national olympic committees to participate remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I apologise for the technical problem we are facing during our voting," said Sheikh Ahmad.

"I will be glad to have two games in west Asia, to be honest," he added.

Doha hosted the Asian Games in 2006 while Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's sports minister, said "when we say the games are a national priority, we mean it".

"It has unwavering political and public support," he said.

"Sport has changed social life in the kingdom, especially for women."

Prince Abdulaziz pointed to Saudi's hosting of major boxing clashes and planning for next year's Formula One as proof of the kingdom's readiness for the Asian Games.

Ng Ser Miang, the chairman of the OCA advisory committee and vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the proposed hosting solution between Saudi Arabia and Qatar was akin to the IOC decision to award the Olympics to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.