San Diego in the United States is poised to be awarded the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games in 2017, with a final decision set to be made here later this week.
The Californian city is one of five to have bid for the Games, along with fellow American candidate Sarasota in Florida, as well as Sochi, Dubai and an unnamed city from China.
ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told insidethegames today, however, only one city will be put forward to a vote held during the body’s General Assembly on Thursday and Friday (October 29 and 30), with the Events Working Group having recommended San Diego today.
The ANOC Executive Council meeting, due to take place here tomorrow, is expected to endorse San Diego as the preferred bidder.
“Today, the Events Commission approved the Games,” Sheikh Ahmad said.
“I will try to put one name forward to the General Assembly.
“San Diego will be the city.”
Located 120 miles to the south of 2024 Olympics and Paralympics contender Los Angeles, San Diego appears the most organised of the five candidates, with a website having been set up, accessible here, to publicise the bid.
The city claims to be “at the epicentre of beach, surf and extreme sports culture” with the “natural capacity, strong infrastructure and athletic tradition to successfully host the first ever ANOC World Beach Games”.
The Beach Games is expected to take place after the IOC vote on the 2024 Games in September 2017 in Lima, Peru, so as not to cause any potential problems with Los Angeles’ bid.
Between 20 and 22 sports are expected to be held at the Games, Sheikh Ahmad revealed, with a final decision to be based on discussions between ANOC and the selected host city.
Skateboarding, surfing and sport climbing – the three youth orientated disciplines also proposed for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – are among those under consideration, while Esports is also being considered.
This is likely predominantly due to the fact Sony USA is based in San Diego.
The Beach Games was originally launched as a joint project between ANOC and SportAccord in October 2013, but has been increasingly seen as a personal priority of ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.
The idea came out of the success of the Asian Beach Games, the continental event first held in Bali, Indonesia in 2008.
But relations between the two bodies deteriorated earlier this year when former SportAccord President Marius Vizer awarded Sochi the inaugural edition without participation from ANOC, although the Russian coastal resort withdrew soon ahead of Vizer’s resignation.
ANOC are now taking sole control of the event, which is called the ANOC World Beach Games rather than just the World Beach Games due to SportAccord having trademarked the latter name.
Earlier this year, it ppeared unlikely a global host would be selected anytime soon, with only conceptual discussions having taken place
In recent months, though, there has been a clear drive to speed up the process, with a Working Group chaired by Hong Kong’s Timothy Fok having held its first meeting at the end of June.
Letters were then sent out to all National Olympic Committees inviting applications to host the event ahead of a deadline of July 31, with an Evaluation Process having since taken place.
By Nick Butler; this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz