AIPS / RIYADH: Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, has expressed his delight at the development of sport in the country. Bach was a special guest at the Saudi Games which ended at the weekend in Riyadh.

He said: “The development of sport in Saudi Arabia is extremely impressive. I don’t think I’ve seen such a transformation of sport in such a short period of time in any country. Where you see how the participation of people growing, the development of elite sport.”

Bach also hailed the inclusion of more women in sports and in leading positions within the sporting movement, adding: “That’s why we are feeling close to home because, in our Olympic agenda, we are trying to drive the same transformation.”

The president of the Saudi Olympic & Paralympic Committee Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal welcomed Bach in the Saudi capital and held meetings and tours which was also attended by Prince Fahad bin Jalawi Al Saud, vice-president of the SOPC, Prince Dilayl bint Nahar, deputy director of the Saudi Games, and Abdulaziz Baashen, the ceo and secretary-general of the SOPC.

According to a SOPC statement Al Faisal and Bach “discussed the significant role that the Kingdom plays on the global sports stage, thanks to Vision 2030 and its ambitious goals, especially in hosting major sporting events such as the Asian Games for Indoor and Martial Arts in 2025, the Asian Winter Games in Trujillo in 2029, and the Asian Games in Riyadh in 2034.”

Bach, accompanied by SOPC officials, attended several events of the Saudi Games 2023, including the finals of beach volleyball and tennis. He also toured the “Fan Zone” within the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex in Riyadh.