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Olympic Council of Asia awards Asian Games hosting to Doha in 2030 and Riyadh in 2034

Olympic Council of Asia awards Asian Games hosting to Doha in 2030 and Riyadh in 2034
December 16, 2020

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has awarded the hosting rights for the 2030 Asian Games to the Qatari capital of Doha and the 2034 to the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh.

Announced overnight at the OCA General Assembly in Muscat, Oman, the double hosting decision is a compromise with fierce political rivals Qatar and Saudi Arabia both having been bidding to host the multi-sport event.

OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah arranged the "win win" situation which saw the city with the most votes awarded the 2030 Games and the runner-up given the 2034 edition.

Qatar's capital won the vote, gaining 27 votes compared to Riyadh's 10 with eight abstentions.

The double award plan was greeted with a round of applause when Sheikh Ahmad explained it and was voted through by the Assembly unanimously.

Prior to the vote, the Kuwaiti said he hoped to find a "solution" for both parties as the OCA always shows "solidarity and unity".

Sheikh Ahmad later told the Assembly "I believe you are making history, and I will be proud to have two Asian Games in West Asia.”

Qatar and Saudi Arabia were bidding against a backdrop of international criticism over their records on human rights, as well as a bitter diplomatic dispute which has seen Saudi Arabia initiate a blockade of its neighbour after accusing Qatar of sponsoring terrorism and backing its regional rival Iran.

Doha hosted the 15th Asian Games in December 2006 while Saudi Arabia has never staged an OCA multi-sport event.

Ahead of the 2030 and 2034 events, the 19th Asian Games will take place in Hangzhou, China in 2022 and the 20th Asian Games will be in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan in 2026. The most recent edition of the Games was held in Indonesia, in 2018.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also vying with India, Iran and Uzbekistan for football’s 2027 Asian Cup, with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) expected to make a decision on the host next year.

Image: Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah raises hands from Doha and Riyadh after the double award. Credit: OCA.

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