San Diego has been formally approved as host of the first Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) World Beach Games here today.
The decision was made following an ANOC Events Working Group and Executive Council meeting here this week, with the decision unanimously approved by acclamation from representatives of 204 National Olympic Committees.
In a video-message played after the announcement, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the city “was very excited for the opportunity to host the inaugural event.
“Thank you for the opportunity,” he added.
The Bid Committee will be led by local businessman and politician Vincent E. Mudd, who was joined by 1983 world silver medal winning triple jumper, Willie Banks.
“I am absolutely stoked at this opportunity,” Mudd said.
“We are the beach, we live the beach.
“It’s part of our culture.”
The Games is expected to feature between 20 and 22 sports, with Esports among those included as well as skateboarding, surfing and wall climbing.
Others expected to be held includes basketball 3×3, BMX, flying disc, jet ski, karate, marathon swimming, stand-up-paddle racing, triathlon, wakeboarding, water polo, windsurfing and beach versions of athletics, handball, tennis, badminton, volleyball and wrestling.
But full confirmation is yet to be given with more discussions to take place as to the exact programme.
Other sports such as rowing are still keen to be added.
Competion for 17 sports will take place on Mission Beach, a community built on a sandbar between the Pacific Ocean and Mission Bay.
Four other sports will be held on Broadway Pier Venue in the downtown part of the city.
It should take place from September 29 to October 9 in 2017, soon after the International Olympic Committee Session in which fellow Californian city Los Angeles is vying to be awarded the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
The announcement was preceded by a lengthy presentation by Sheikh Ahmad about the philosophy behind the Games, as well as by George Taylor, President of ANOC partner Sports Art Plus.
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.
“This is an historic moment for ANOC and the NOC family,” said Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah today.
“The ANOC World Beach Games has been a key priority for ANOC for nearly two years and today we took a step closer to making our vision a reality.
“We were very impressed by the plan that San Diego put forward.
“As part of the process that selected San Diego, a report from Dow Jones Sport Intelligence was commissioned.
“This enabled us to independently research and verify important event related criteria for the ANOC World Beach Games.
“We have worked closely with industry experts to devise an innovative concept which will blend sport, culture and entertainment and we believe that San Diego is the perfect city to deliver our vision.”