DOHA OFFICIALLY OPENS THE ANOC WORLD BEACH GAMES
The Opening Ceremony of the inaugural World Beach Games was held in the amphitheater on Katara Beach. More than 3,000 people attended the ceremony that featured many children, marking the opening of this sporting festival where 97 countries from across the globe will participate.
Doha is an impressive and modern city adorned with hundreds of skyscraping hotels and buildings, located between the waters of the Persian Gulf and the desert.
The prevailing heat can be suffocating despite being a cooler season, with temperatures easily reaching 38 degrees (100 F) in the shade and about 42 C (107 F) in full sun and sand.
However, the heat has not impeded the organization of the first World Beach Games in history which were originally slated to be held in San Diego, United States. The Californian city was not able to fulfill its requirements, but Doha stood up to take on the challenge with just a few months left before the start of the Games.
The fruits of this labor were born on Saturday with the Opening Ceremony. Simple, shorter and centered on youth, it was a spectacular show held in the amazing amphitheater of Katara Beach.
Unlike other Games, only one athlete per country walked the stage while the rest witnessed the ceremony from the stands next to the Qatari authorities, diplomats, Presidents and Secretaries General of the Olympic Committees as well as the general public.
After the speeches and traditional oaths of judges and athletes, the President of the Qatar Olympic Committee HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani officially inaugurated the ANOC Beach World Games and wished luck to the more than 1,300 athletes from 97 countries who are competing in Doha.
The President of Panam Sports, Vice President of ANOC and IOC Member, Neven Ilic, is also in Doha having witnessed the Opening Ceremony and will now begin visiting different venues to cheer on the athletes of the Americas.
“The American continent has come to Doha with more than 300 athletes from 19 countries. This is a good number considering it is the first edition of these Games. I hope that all of them do very well. We have very good athletes and I trust that we will be represented very well on the final Medal Table,” said Ilic, the highest sport authority of the Americas.
The first medals of these Games will be up for grabs on Sunday. Medals will be awarded in Men’s and Women’s Open Water Swimming beginning at 6:00 am local time. Later, the finals for the discipline of Kata in the sport of Karate will be held.
The World Beach Games will conclude on October 16.