OCA PressRelease: The success story of the Asian Beach Games 22/09/2016

OCA & ANOC Prisedent Sheikh AhmadAl Fahad Al Sabah.

Danang, Vietnam, September 21, 2016: The OlympicCouncil of Asia’s fifth Asian Beach Games are almost upon us, and the event hasproved to be more successful than we could have dreamed of back in the earlydays. From theinaugural edition in Bali, Indonesia, in 2008, the Asian Beach Games havebecome one of the most popular Asian multi-sport events on the calendarof the Olympic Movement for athletes, officials and spectators alike.

In Danang –a beautiful central coastal city of Vietnam – we will have around 3,000 Asian beach sports athletes competing in 14 sports, 22 disciplines and 172 events at four venue clusters along the magnificent bay. The Games will open on Saturday, September 24 and close on Monday, October 3, promising fun inthe sun for all concerned and a truly family-oriented beach and sea sports festival.

At this point I would like to say a heartfelt "thank you" to the Central Government of Vietnam, the Danang City Government and the citizens of Danang for all their hard work in organising and promoting our fifth Asian Beach Games.

With this team work, enthusiasm and cooperation, the OCA is confident that the fifth Asian Beach Games – Danang 2016 will be a memorable event and add another rich chapter to this amazing success story. There are many factors behind the popularity of the Beach Games concept. One of themain reasons is that they are very attractive to potential host cities.

First of all,the host cities are already blessed with an abundance of natural resources –namely, sand and sea. Add in the blue skies, sunshine and tourist infrastructure already in place and this creates an exotic sporting cocktail.

Second, the venues are temporary, with a lifespan of around one month from the start of test events to the end of official competition. Therefore there is no need for host cities to build expensive new stadiums, as the temporary venues will serve the purpose of the Beach Games and have minimal impact on the natural environment.

Third, the Asian Beach Games offer smaller cities within our member National Olympic Committees the opportunity to host an international multi-sport event. The scale of the beach games is small in comparison to our major event, the Asian Games, and does not require the specialised facilities and conditions of the Asian Winter Games.

For an island like Bali in 2008, then Muscat (Oman) in 2010, followed by the provincial seaside city of Haiyang in Shandong province, China in 2012, and another tourist hot spot, Phuket (Thailand) in 2014, the Asian Beach Games have provided the ideal platform to promote their natural beauty to an international audience.

So, as well as staging an enjoyable, modern sports event, the host cities benefit from the tourism aspect at a relatively low cost. There is also a carnival atmosphere at the Asian Beach Games, with upbeat summer sounds in the competition venue background music and activities and sideshows for the spectators in between the action.

As well as offering the chance to smaller cities and NOCs to host an OCA event, the Asian Beach Games also provide an opportunity for beach sport athletes to represent their flag in international competition and compete for gold, silver and bronze medals for their country or region.

This is one of the main policies of the OCA – to be inclusive, not exclusive, to all dedicated athletes around the continent and give them a chance to join our games and to experience, and promote, the Olympic spirit. This our Sport For All concept at work.

We have seen a rapid rise in the standard of the athletes in our beach and sea sports, from Bali 2008 compared to now, and this experience and high level of competition will help them as beach sports boom around the world.

It is through the success of the Asian Beach Games that the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) has decided to start their own World Beach Games. The inaugural edition will take place in San Diego, Southern California, in 2019, and the OCA is delighted to welcome observers from San Diego and from ANOC to Danang to see our beach games unfold.

There will also be representatives from the International Mediterranean Games and from the European Olympic Committees, who are planning to start their own Euro Beach Games. The Asian Beach Games also promote a healthy lifestyle, and on this point we thank and congratulate the Vietnamese government for designating the 5th Asian Beach Games as a No Smoking event.

All forms of tobacco advertising and sponsorship have been banned, as has smoking in the venues. Finally, I would like to congratulate Vietnam for winning their historic first gold medal in the history of the Olympic Games at Rio 2016 – by Mr Hoang Xuan Vinh in the men’s 10-metre air pistol. The OCA shares your pride. We are going to Vietnam with the profile of Olympic sport at an all-time high!