October 21 to 30 2023 has been confirmed as the window for the World Combat Games ©GAISF

Dates of October 21 to 30 have been set for the World Combat Games in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh next year.

The final dates were approved in a meeting between the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the Local Organising Committee.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to hosting a memorable and inclusive 2023 World Combat Games in Riyadh," said Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee President Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud.

"This event will celebrate unity, champion diversity and share the positive values of combat sports and martial arts with the rest of the world.

"We look forward to welcoming athletes, fans and officials for what will be an exciting international multi-sport festival."

The World Combat Games is expected to feature 2,000 athletes across 15 sports, with GAISF claiming the multi-sport event will boost the exposure of the disciplines on display and the host city.

In addition to finalising the dates of the event, the meeting saw discussions take place on the sports programme, competition venues, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and an awards night.

"We are delighted to announce the dates for the 2023 World Combat Games in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia," said GAISF and SportAccord President Ivo Ferriani.

"I know that athletes and fans travelling to Riyadh from around the world will receive the warmest of welcomes.

"This major multi-sport games will help inspire the next generation of combat sports and martial arts athletes in Riyadh and around the world."

The World Combat Games will also see the inaugural World Martial Arts Gala, which is due to honour martial arts icons, take place.

Riyadh is set to stage the third edition of the World Combat Games ©Getty Images
Riyadh is set to stage the third edition of the World Combat Games ©Getty Images

"The 2023 World Combat Games is far more than an international sporting event, it is a sporting, cultural and educational exchange that will combine ancient tradition with world class competition," said GAISF vice-president Stephan Fox.

"Throughout the nine days, Riyadh will become the martial arts capital of the world."

The World Combat Games were last held in Saint Petersburg in Russia back in 2013.

Plans for the 2019 event in Taiwan were halted as the format was adjusted, before a revamped Games was awarded to Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan in May 2019, which was then cancelled due to COVID-19.

GAISF, which organises the World Combat Games, is in the process of being dissolved.

After the World Combat Games, Saudi Arabia is due to stage the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2025 and later the Asian Games in 2034 as it seeks to establish itself as a sporting destination.

Saudi Arabia is bidding for men's and women's Asian Cups in football, as well as the 2029 Asian Winter Games, and is considering a FIFA World Cup bid, potentially alongside Egypt and Greece.

As well as hosting events, Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has purchased English football club Newcastle United and is bankrolling LIV Golf, a new circuit rivalling the PGA Tour.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of sportswashing and seeking to accrue soft power through these actions, because of its poor record on human rights which includes severely restricting press and women's freedoms and leading a coalition which has carried out deadly airstrikes across Yemen since 2015.