Saudi Arabia is set to host the Neom Beach Games in the newly-built city ©Neom Beach Games

Saudi Arabia is to host the inaugural Neom Beach Games later this year at the still-under-construction project which is also bidding to host the Asian Winter Games, with five events planned under the banner.

The Neom project, a massive construction undertaking in the north-west of the country, is planned to incorporate smart-city technologies and become a major tourism draw, with its scale so grand that it is being proposed as both a beach games and winter sports destination.

It extends 170 kilometres along the coast of the Red Sea and the estimated cost has been put at $500 billion (£439.5 billion/€500 billion), financed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Kitesurfing, triathlon, 3x3 basketball, beach soccer and mountain biking events have all been lined up for the inaugural Neom Beach Games, with athletes from 25 countries expected to compete.

"We are delighted to host the NEOM Beach Games which brings together local and international rights holders for five globally popular sports in one diverse location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," chief executive Nadhmi Al-Nasr said.

"NEOM is a place of unparalleled natural beauty and will be the ideal backdrop for what promises to be a period of exciting competition amongst world-class athletes competing in a variety of challenging sports."

The triathlon event will be the final of the Super League Triathlon Championship Series, while the 3x3 contest is due to be an International Basketball Federation 3x3 Super Quest competition.

The first of the five events - a Global Kitesports Association Freestyle World Cup - is due to begin on October 19, while the Titan Desert mountain bike contest is set to conclude on December 9.

Neom is one of the biggest construction projects ever undertaken ©Getty Images
Neom is one of the biggest construction projects ever undertaken ©Getty Images

"We are excited to be hosting world class events in NEOM as we aim to develop a sporting hub which will contribute to our evolving sport ecosystem," said Jan Paterson, managing director of sport.

"Partnering with key sporting bodies will strengthen our goals of building a high-performance culture and inspire the next generation of athletes across the region."

The announcement is in line with Saudi Arabia's moves toward becoming a major sporting event host, with Neom - which is also seeking to stage the 2029 Asian Winter Games in Trojena, set to be the country's first ski resort - one key hub.

Saudi Arabia is also due to stage the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2025 and later the Asian Games in 2034, both in capital Riyadh.

Riyadh is also the destination for next year's World Combat Games.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is bidding for men's and women's Asian Cups in football and is considering a FIFA World Cup bid, potentially alongside Egypt and Greece.

As well as hosting events, Saudi Arabia's state-owned PIF 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 trying 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.