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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Qatar gear up to make first edition a great success

As anticipation keeps rising ahead of the Opening ceremony, the organisers are confident of pulling off a great event.
Jassim Rashid Al Buenain Khaleel Al Jabir Gunilla Lindberg Ali Ghanim Al Address A Press Conference Ahead Of The World Beach Games
Jassim Rashid Al Buenain, Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the ANOC World Beach Games (second from left), Khaleel Al Jabir, Asst Director General, Support Services (extreme left), ANOC Secretary General, Gunilla Lindberg (second right) and Ali Ghanim Al Kuwari (right), Asst Director General, Operations address a Press conference ahead of the World Beach Games. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

There is huge expectation and great anticipation ahead of the first Association of National Olympic Committees’ (ANOC) World Beach Games which get underway at four picturesque venues in Doha from Friday. The Games will be held at Katara Beach, the sand courts of the Al Gharafa Sports Club, Aspire Zone and the Legtaifiya Lagoon.

Considering the fact that Doha signed the hosting agreement only three months ago, after the original hosts, Chilean capital Santiago, pulled out almost at the last minute, the local organisers have done a great work and the country is ready to welcome more than 1300 athletes from 90 countries for the six-day mega event.

IN TOUCH WITH NATURE

The winners at the ANOC World Beach Games will be awarded medals with a unique design. They are shaped like ocean pebbles and will feature engravings of marine life found all over the globe – dolphins, crabs, coral and various fish.

ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg said that the theme of the medals was an indication of the various disciplines’ connection with nature.

“These Games are symbiotic with nature. These innovative medals symbolise both the success of elite athletes and our harmonious relationship with the environment,” she said.

Jassim Rashid Al Buenain, Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee told journalists that he was confident of Qatar staging yet another great event.

“Sports is the one of the main pillars of Qatar’s Vision 2030 and that’s why we’ll host an exceptional Games,” Al Buenain said on Thursday.
“The immense support from the nation’s leadership and cooperation from various government organisations have helped us prepare for this event and ensure it’s a success even though we had only a short time to prepare,” he added.

ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg echoed Al Buenain’s views by highlighting what Qatar had in store for athletes and fans in the next few days.

“Qatar is providing a great atmosphere for athletes and fans for the World Beach Games. The venues are ready and the facilities for athletes and officials are in place. We knew that Qatar was capable of organising the event in such a short span and that’s why we readily agreed when they said they would host it,” said Lindberg.

Athletes have already started to arrive in Doha and many of them were seen at the venues getting a feel of what they could expect on match days.
Given that three of the 14 sports at the ANOC World Beach Games will also feature in the Tokyo Olympics next year, top athletes from these sports will be looking at the Doha competition as an opportunity to prepare for the Summer Games.

Big names and teams in 3×3 Basketball, Skateboarding and Bouldering, which is a part of Sport Climbing at the Olympics, will be in action in the coming days. That includes 2019 World Championship winner in Skateboarding Heimana Reynolds of the USA and Bouldering’s 2018 world champion Kai Harada of Japan besides World No. 3 Sean McColl of Canada.

Eleven-year-old Skateboarding prodigy Sky Brown, who had won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Sao Paulo last month, was expected to take part in Doha, but she withdrew because of academic commitments.

Saturday’s Opening Ceremony will be held at the Katara Beach from 7.30pm and will last for an hour.

“It’ll be a simple Opening Ceremony, but will capture the essence of the Games,” said Al Buenain.

Some of the sports may be new to fans in Doha and some of the athletes may be unknown, but that will in no way diminish the high level of skills and talent which will be on display. The strong international flavour, with athletes from almost 100 countries taking part, is sure to draw worldwide attention.

Qatar is once again in the spotlight as host of another international event. And like they have done before at any event in Doha, the fans are expected to lap up the action over the next six days.

The Beach Soccer Venue At Katara Beach
The Beach Soccer venue at Katara Beach. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran