Saudi Arabia wins the Winter Games.  EU: “Wrong”

Saudi Arabia wins the Winter Games. EU: “Wrong”

When it comes to the Winter Games, Saudi Arabia is certainly not the first country that comes to mind as a backdrop for sports such as alpine skiing and snowboarding as well as curling. Yet the Middle Eastern monarchy has won the 2029 edition of the Asian Winter Games, which will be held in the mountainous town of Trojena less than two hundred kilometers south of the border with Jordan and not far from the warm waters of the Red Sea.

The EU reaction

A choice that immediately infuriated the European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, who defined the desire to “organize the Asian Winter Games in the desert as something fundamentally wrong”. “If we want to be serious about reducing our impact on this planet, we must start by making conscious choices that respect nature and the climate,” added the EU commissioner. But in and around Riyadh, the Asian Olympic Council’s decision to bring snow sports to the Arabian peninsula is seen as a great victory in support of the pharaonic Neom project, a veritable cathedral in the desert.

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The Neom project

At an estimated cost of around 500 billion dollars, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to build a city – or rather, a smart city – with an area of ​​26,500 square kilometers spread over 170 kilometers along the coast of the Red Sea. The urban area will be called The Line, while the mountain resort of Trojena could become the first major outdoor ski destination in the Arabian Peninsula, complete with an artificial lake. The video spot of the project highlights the more futuristic aspects of the project that Riyadh aims to complete by 2026, even if architects and economists have questioned the feasibility of the work.

Riad’s dream

The involvement of bin Salman in the development of Neom leaves few questions: the heir to the throne and current prime minister of the country holds the position of chairman of the board of directors of the project. The prince himself said he wanted to bet on the creation of Trojena to “redefine mountain tourism in the world”. The director of Neom, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, guaranteed that Trojena will soon have “adequate infrastructures to create a winter atmosphere in the heart of the desert and to make these Winter Games an unprecedented global event”. with criticism of the country on the systematic violations of human rights, the lack of protection for workers and the marginal role of women in Saudi society.

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