The SAOC President Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said Vision 2030 had prompted "a remarkable development" in Saudi sports ©SAOC

The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) has pledged $694 million (£514 million/€611 million) of funding through the Sport Federations Support Strategy to aid the country's 91 sport federations.

This aims to support federations' competition at regional and global level, raise standards to promote sports tourism, increase the popularity of sport in Saudi Arabia and contribute to the promotion of the Kingdom's culture and heritage

Two types of funding are available for sport federations - support for essential activities, such as operational costs and training camps, and incentive funding to reward them based on three criteria.

These requirements cover operational capabilities, technical capabilities and achievements on a national and international stage.

The initiative forms part of its "Life Quality" programme, which features in the wider Saudi "Vision 2030".

Vision 2030 aims to raise the level of sport in the country, including hosting more events, although this has prompted allegations of "sports washing" as a distraction from its human rights record.

Saudi Arabia has been granted rights for the Asian Games in 2034, while its capital Riyadh is set to stage the United Through Sports World Virtual Youth Festival later this month.

It has also bid to host football's 2027 Asian Cup.

Saudi Arabia was represented by 29 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Saudi Arabia was represented by 29 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, the SAOC President, said Vision 2030 is helping to instigate a major growth of sport in Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi sports have witnessed a remarkable development at the international level, thanks to the support of the Saudi leadership under Vision 2030," Prince Abdulaziz commented.

"Most recent developments were getting awarded with the hosting rights of the Asian Games Riyadh 2034 for the first time in the Kingdom’s history, in addition to the increase of the Saudi sports federations, committees and associations from 32 in 2015 into 91 federations nowadays."

Prince Abdulaziz, who is also Saudi Arabia's Minister of Sport, announced the launch of an Elite Athletes' Development Programme, which aims to "reinforce athletes' competency and ensure their long-term preparation".

The Programme also strives to help athletes achieve success in international competitions and "create an ideal environment".

As part of this initiative, the Saudi Olympic Training Centre has been established as an independent facility, under the supervision of the SAOC, which will work with a number of sport federations.

It will target 180 male and female athletes in its first year, and 480 athletes by 2023.

Saudi Arabia was represented by 29 athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - its biggest contingent since the turn of the century - with Tareg Hamedi securing a karate silver medal in the men's over-75 kilograms kumite.