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World Beach Games Coming to San Diego, Despite Rough Start

8 Aug, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The World Beach Games in San Diego are coming together. Despite all the hiccups of the past few years – including downsizing and a reschedule to 2019 – the process is moving forward. In a new development, qualification guidelines have been sent to the national Olympic committees (known in the trade as NOCs) of each participating country.

According to an article in Inside The Games, qualification pathways are believed to be different for each event, but the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC, the organization overseeing the Games) has noted that in order to guarantee the quality of the competitions, most athletes and teams will be determined based on world ranking points or the highest finishing places at World Championships or Continental Championships. About 1,350 individuals are expected to compete, with an expected 40,000 fans per day, according to the article.

Meanwhile, a video promoting the World Beach Games has been making the rounds and is available here on YouTube.

The Games are expected to take place on Mission Beach in temporary venues, beginning October 10, with closing ceremonies scheduled for October 15.

A total of 15 sports and 17 disciplines are expected to be presented, including:

  • Aquathlon ( running and swimming)

  • Open water swimming (5K distance)

  • BMX

  • Bouldering

  • Beach handball

  • Kata karate

  • Kiteboarding

  • Park skateboarding

  • Beach soccer

  • Beach tennis

  • Basketball (three on three format)

  • Beach volleyball (four on four format)

  • Beach wrestling

  • Surfing: Shortboard and longboard

  • Water ski jumping

  • Wakeboarding

It is likely there may be some changes to the line-up of sports, however, since ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has noted that he would like to see freediving included, with an eye to moving it toward the Olympics. Should this be added to the World Beach Games (or anywhere else), it will have to be done in accordance with the World Underwater Federation, the international governing body.

In addition to the fits and starts that surrounded the planning for these Games, there have been a few political snafus. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) was originally planned to be on the program, but was taken out later. That sport is currently mired in a dispute over who the correct governing body should be: the International Canoe Federation or the International Surfing Association. ANOC has denied facing any pressure from the International Canoe Federation (ICF) in the decision to remove SUP from the program.

The event is expected to have a festival atmosphere, with music and cultural events being offered.

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