The Riyadh 2030 Asian Games bid delegation arrived in Muscat, Oman Friday with very strong backing from the Saudi Arabian population, according to data from an independent pollster.
Arriving ahead of the 39th Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly where the 2030 Asian Games bid vote scheduled for Wednesday is the focus, a senior delegation of athletes and administrators including Director General of Riyadh 2030 and Vice President of Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee HH Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz were backed by 91 percent of the Saudi population.
The results of the survey released Monday by Riyadh 2030 also reveal that 95 percent of the population are “ready to welcome the 2030 Asian Games”; 92 percent of respondents from Riyadh would watch the Games as a spectator; 92 percent believe the Games would attract large crowds of supporters; and 98 percent agree that Saudi Arabia would be “highly capable hosts.”
There were 1,300 respondents to the survey from across 13 Saudi cities.
President of Riyadh 2030 HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Alfaisal said “we’re delighted with the results of the public opinion poll, which reaffirm the strengths of our bid and the unwavering public support for Riyadh 2030. Saudi Arabia is home to a large population of 35 million people with the majority being passionate sports fans who are extremely excited by the prospect of a first-ever Asian Games at home here.”
“Only Riyadh can offer the OCA the commercial certainty of millions of sports fans ready and wanting to buy tickets now.
“Our bid is a national priority for the whole country and our country is united in its effort to host the prestigious Asian Games and open a new chapter for the OCA.”
Riyadh is facing off against regional rival Doha, Qatar in a heated battle between two nations with weakened diplomatic relations. While Doha last hosted the event in 2006, Riyadh is hoping to stage the Games for the first time.
Riyadh has positioned the possible Games as a national priority and in line with the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030’ development strategy.
“We’re delighted to arrive in the beautiful city of Muscat, and we look forward to presenting our vision for Riyadh 2030 to the OCA General Assembly,” Prince Fahd said.
“Our bid – which is completely aligned to our nation’s long-term development plans – will transform the future of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Asia’s sports movement as a whole.
“Our bid has total and unwavering political and public support, and we are committed to working collaboratively with the OCA to place sport and the Asian Olympic Movement at the very heart of society in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia.”
Last week the bid revealed an aggressive project it described as “a new landmark nationwide initiative to increase the level of physical activity amongst young people across Saudi Arabia.”
The legacy initiative is designed to target 600,000 students next year and up to 6 million students in time for the Games in 2030, delivering long-term, tangible benefits. By providing resources and practitioners to schools and their physical education classes without charge the goal is to inspire more students with sports.
“Inspiring future generations and sharing the positive values of sport is a core commitment of our bid to host the 2030 Asian Games and this new physical education initiative will deliver long-term benefits throughout Saudi Arabia,” Prince Fahd said.
“Riyadh 2030 will be a platform for children to participate in sports at record levels and, importantly, this program will reward the teachers who work tirelessly to increase the levels of physical activity within our schools.”
The OCA will conduct its election online Wednesday with some NOCs unable to attend in-person due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said he was confident with both candidates heading into the election explaining Monday “We know that our Asian Games will be in very safe hands in 2030, and I would like to thank the two bidding cities for their efforts and their enthusiasm.”