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  • ATR First: Middle East Option for ANOC World Beach Games


    (ATR) A new place and time for the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games could be known within a week, sources tell Around the Rings.

    Beach handball at the 2010 Asian Beach Games in Oman. (ATR)
    The games were to have been held in October in San Diego, California. But the Association of National Olympic Committees leadership last week decided to relocate the event to another country able to provide the financial guarantees necessary to hold the games. Organizers in San Diego said they were unable to secure the top level sponsor needed to keep the event privately funded.

    These first ANOC World Beach Games are supposed to attract about 1300 athletes from 70 NOCs, competing in 14 sports.

    ATR has heard that a leading option to take over the beach games is Oman. The sultanate on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula has experience as the host of the second Asian Beach Games held in December 2010.

    So far there is no reply to requests for offical comment from the Oman National Committee or ANOC. 

    While October was the time set for San Diego to host the games, the weather in Oman it is likely too warm to safely host the event. November or December would be more likely.

    The ANOC World Beach Games are the first sports property to be developed by the Association. Conceived several years ago,
    Muscat rumored to be in line for the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games. (ATR)
    the original plan was to stage the event in San Diego in 2017. But organizers asked for more time to seek sponsors to cover the estimated $30 million cost of the games.

    San Diego edged out three other bidders for the inaugural ANOC beach games: Sochi, Dubai and Sarasota, Florida.

    But with the games approaching just over four months away and no announcement of sponsorship or other preparations in San Diego, the fate of the event seemed in doubt. The San Diego organizing committee posted a statement on its website May 30 announcing the end of its role as beach games host. Within hours the website was no longer functioning.

    U.S. Olympic Committee officials were believed to have been urging ANOC to seek a new host for the games for some time, given the sponsorship issues. 

    “We fully support ANOC leadership’s decision and their commitment to launching the World Beach Games in an environment that will ensure a robust experience for the world’s greatest beach athletes. We look forward to being an engaged participant," USOC spokesman Mark Jones tells ATR.

    There is no word on the fate of the ANOC General Assembly that was to proceed the beach games in San Diego. The assembly is a major event on the Olympic calendar every year, drawing hundreds of delegates and IOC leaders for three days of meetings.

    ATR is told that the assembly may not be connected to the new host selected for the beach games. The meeting could be held in a more accessible location in Europe, for example.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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