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Games-Doha, Riyadh to know fate of 2030 Asian Games bid on Wednesday

REUTERS: Bitter neighbours Qatar and Saudi Arabia will know the fate of their bids for the hosting rights of the 2030 Asian Games on Wednesday when the Olympic Council of Asia votes to choose between Doha and Riyadh at its general assembly.

Qatari capital Doha hosted the 2006 Games but Saudi Arabia has never organised an OCA multi-sport event.

The OCA general assembly will be held in Muscat during which the members countries will select the host city for the quadrennial Asian Games through an online vote.

Some delegates from the national Olympic committees will not be able attend the meeting in Oman because of health and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be the first time since 2012 that the regional governing body will vote to award the hosting rights for the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics.

"We are very fortunate to have two excellent bids from two of the greatest capital cities in the region," OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said in a statement.

"Our OCA Evaluation Committee visited the two cities in November and were very impressed with the hosting plans, the dynamic programmes in place and the world-class sports infrastructure, as well as the sheer passion and excitement to host our Asian Games."

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have maintained a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Qatar denies the charges and says the embargo by its fellow Gulf Arabs aims to undermine its sovereignty.

Chinese city Hangzhou hosts the next Games in 2022, with the 2026 edition scheduled to take place in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters

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