Acting ANOC President Mitchell looks back at success of inaugural World Beach Games in Qatar
- Updated: October 13, 2020
The ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 officially got underway a year today (12 October). Preliminary competitions in some of the team sports had begun the day before, but today was the day this inaugural flagship event began in earnest.
For the next five days, some of the world’s best athletes battled it out across 13 dynamic, young and fun beach, water and action sports. Nearly 1,300 athletes took part and represented almost 100 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from all five continents, making the event a truly global celebration.
“The ANOC World Beach Games was the brainchild of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah who had seen the success of the Asian Beach Games and wanted to transfer that into a world event. When ANOC launched the Games back in 2015, it had a vision of a global multi-sport event, created specifically for the benefit of the NOCs and their athletes, said Acting ANOC President Robin Mitchell. “An event that combines elite youth-focused beach, water and action sports with captivating beach locations. In Qatar we felt this vision was realised.”
The global nature of the ANOC World Beach Games was on full display when the athletes took to the stage for the spectacular Opening Ceremony at the beautiful Katara Amphitheatre, just metres from the Katara Beach.
“It was a great Opening Ceremony,” said Acting President Mitchell. “It was a moment when you realise it has all come together and we are ready for an excellent event. That was one of the highlights for me that Qatar and the QOC in such a short time had put on world-class facilities with all these amazing sport services.”
The quality of the facilities and services meant that athletes could compete at their very best and put on an exciting spectacle for the fans in the stadium and those watching at home. Thanks to the excellent work of the Olympic Channel, the ANOC World Beach Games was made available online to NOCs all around the world. Everyone was able to enjoy watching these young and fresh disciplines, some for the first time.
“The ANOC World Beach Games was the first, and only, truly global festival of beach, water and action sports,” said Acting President Mitchell. “It showcased Olympic and non-Olympic sports but the vast majority were non-Olympic disciplines so are not as well known. The Games therefore provided an international platform for these new athletes to showcase their skill and entertain people around the world. And it also helped NOCs connect with these new athletes, new sports and a new generation of sports fans for the first time.”
Athletes from 40 different NOCs won the 350 medals available. This was close to half of the NOCs competing, demonstrating the global breadth of talent across these sports. But even for those NOCs who did not win the medals, the experience proved to be very positive.
“All of the NOCs and IFs I have spoken to, spoke very highly of the event,” said Acting President Mitchell. “Just like us, they are looking forward to the next edition!”