The first ANOC World Beach Games officially begins Saturday with an opening ceremony at Katara which will be attended by HE the President of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani, ANOC Acting President Robin Mitchell and a host of other national and international dignitaries.
The opening ceremony will start with the Qatari national anthem, followed by an introductory film about the competitions and entry of participants. HE QOC Secretary General Jassim bin Rashid
al-Buainain, Vice Chairman of the Supreme Committee and Director-General of Local Organising Committee of Qatar 2019 World Beach Games, will deliver a speech on the occasion.
After that, ANOC Acting President Mitchell will deliver a speech followed by the opening ceremony operetta.
With more than 1,200 athletes from 97 countries competing in 14 disciplines, including 3X3 basketball, bouldering, beach tennis, beach handball, beach wrestling and wakeboarding, the five-day event is by no means a small affair.
It was initially to be hosted by San Diego but the American city pulled out over finances in May, with Qatar quickly stepping in to take over.
"It has been an interesting couple of months for us but luckily we had almost all qualifications done," said Gunilla Lindberg, secretary-general of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), founders of the event.
"In principle, we just moved from one place to another. There were a lot of logistics preparations. I am impressed," Lindberg told Reuters in an interview.
Qatar organisers have repurposed many of the facilities, including hotels, used during last week's World Athletics Championships.
Lindberg said ANOC would evaluate the World Beach Games later this year to determine their future.
But it is already planning an Oct. 15 talk with the International Olympic Committee and other sports organisations to discuss future cooperation.
"Yes, it is a very crowded sports calendar. But we still think there is room for the competition. Not everyone can compete at the Olympic Games or the continental games.
"We want to open it up for smaller nations to be able to have a worldwide event without complicated venues and expenses. Here they put up provisional venues. It is a low-budget project," she said.
"We told them we don't want big opening ceremonies, big expensive venues. We want beach competitions where athletes are happy and enjoying themselves in their competitions."
“The 1st ANOC World Beach Games represents another landmark occasion for Qatar. The nature of this event provides us with an opportunity to show the world what Qatar has to offer as a leading leisure destination,” said QOC Secreary General al-Buainain
“Our venues have been carefully selected with this in mind, ranging from the stunning beach front location of Katara Beach, where most of the action will be centered, to the clear waters of Legtaifiya Lagoon,” he said.
ANOC Secretary General Lindberg thanked Qatar for hosting the Games.
“We would like to express our thanks to His Highness the Amir, the state of Qatar and everyone at the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) for their warm hospitality. In just three months they have achieved a huge amount and we have no doubt this will be a fantastic event,” added
The first medals will be won on Oct. 13 in karate and the 5km open water swim. Overall, 350 medals will be contested.
The competition will be live streamed on the official website www.awbgqatar.com. The Olympic Channel will also present coverage of the games.