HANOI, Sept 22 ― Some 3,000 athletes will converge on the Vietnamese resort town of Danang this weekend for the Asian Beach Games, vying for glory in events ranging from Indian contact sport kabaddi to wrestling and volleyball.
The biennial event will see 22 disciplines contested on a seven-kilometre (4.4-mile) stretch of sand at the tourist town in central Vietnam, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said yesterday.
The Games, which run from Saturday until October 3, give prominence to athletes ― and sports ― from Asian nations who do not normally make the podium at the Olympics or World Championships.
Participating nations range from regional sporting heavyweight China to landlocked Afghanistan, who have won medals in beach wrestling in previous editions.
Beach football and Southeast Asian martial arts vovinam and pencak silat will also feature on the menu.
“The Asian Beach Games have become one of the most popular Asian multi-sport events on the calendar of the Olympic Movement for athletes, officials and spectators alike,” the OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said in a press release.
“The event has proved to be more successful than we could have dreamed of back in the early days,” he said of a competition that was launched in 2008 in Bali.
Organisers say the Games bring a tourist bonanza to host towns and cities.
But Vietnamese state media reported local travel agents saying organisers had done too little to promote the Games, making it difficult to attract domestic and foreign tourists.
Thailand dominated the last edition held in 2014 on its home turf in Phuket.
In addition to Phuket and Bali, the Games have also been held in Muscat in Oman and Haiyang, China. ― AFP