December 17, 2020
Wednesday, 16 December 2020
Doha will host the 2030 Asian Games and rival Riyadh will stage the event in 2034 following a vote at today's Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly in Muscat.
The double award comes after OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah arranged a "win win" situation which saw the city with the most votes awarded the 2030 Games and the runner-up given 2034.
It means back-to-back Games will be held in West Asia with an intriguing race between two fierce political opponents ending with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia having something to show for it.
Qatar's capital won on the day, however, gaining 27 votes compared to Riyadh's 10 with eight abstentions.
In the end, the 26 countries present at the JW Marriott Hotel in Oman's capital had to vote the old fashioned way, by walking up to a ballot box, with the 19 remaining nations still able to vote electronically.
There was also confusion when a tab labelled "learn ethical hacking" was noticed on the screen during the vote, leading to fears the ballot was being manipulated.
Sheikh Ahmad said an OCA staff member's laptop had "shut down" and had been replaced with one used by an Omani technician, which had the tab about a hacking course visible.
It led to observers from both Doha and Riyadh being present in the control room when the vote took place, with a source telling insidethegames that each bid was left "furious" by the problems.
At one stage members of the media and camera crews were asked to leave the room, with Sheikh Ahmad claiming some delegates had expressed fears about their votes being filmed as they typed on their iPads.
Cameras were later allowed to return for the manual vote.
The double award plan was greeted with a round of applause when Sheikh Ahmad explained it and was voted through by the Assembly unanimously.
On the eve of the vote yesterday, the Kuwaiti said he hoped to find a "solution" for both parties as the OCA always shows "solidarity and unity".
It has drawn parallels with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's move to award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games simultaneously to Paris and Los Angeles.
"I believe you are making history, and I will be proud to have two Asian Games in West Asia," Sheikh Ahmad told the Assembly.
"Thank you Asia for your solidarity and coordination."
（Photo: Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah raises hands from Doha and Riyadh after the double award。
The electronic vote was plagued by technical problems and was repeatedly delayed as some countries attended in the room and others joined virtually.）