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15:40 09/21/2016
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah has predicted that the Asian Beach Games, due to open in Danang in Vietnam on Saturday (September 24), will offer an "exotic sporting cocktail".
 
The event will be the fifth version of the Games since it made its debut in Bali in Indonesia in 2008. 
 
"It has become one of the most popular Asian multi-sport events on the calendar of the Olympic Movement for athletes, officials and spectators alike," said Sheikh Ahmad, President of the Olympic Council of Asia. 
 
Nearly 3,000 athletes are due to compete in 172 events in 22 disciplines from 14 sports in Danang, a coastal city in central Vietnam known for its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial port. 
 
Vovinam, a traditional Vietnamese martial art, will be among the sports on the programme. 
 
Others include pencak silat, an umbrella term for a class of related martial arts originating in Indonesia, shuttlecock, a form of badmonton played outdoors, and bodybuilding.
 
Sports like 3x3 basketball, beach soccer, volleyball and athletics are also part of the programme. 
Since its debut at Bali eight years ago, the Asian Beach Games have been held in Muscat in 2010, Haiyang in Shandong province in China in 2012 and Phuket in 2014. 
 
"There are many factors behind the popularity of the Beach Games concept," said Sheikh Ahmad.
 
"One of the main reasons is that they are very attractive to potential host cities.
 
"First of all, the host cities are already blessed with an abundance of natural resources - namely, sand and sea. 
 
"Add in the blue skies, sunshine and tourist infrastructure already in place and this creates an exotic sporting cocktail.
 
"Second, the venues are temporary, with a lifespan of around one month from the start of test events to the end of official competition. 
 
"Therefore, there is no need for host cities to build expensive new stadiums, as the temporary venues will serve the purpose of the Beach Games and have minimal impact on the natural environment.
 
"Third, the Asian Beach Games offer smaller cities within our member National Olympic Committees the opportunity to host an international multi-sport event. 
 
"The scale of the Beach Games is small in comparison to our major event, the Asian Games, and does not require the specialised facilities and conditions of the Asian Winter Games."
"There is also a carnival atmosphere at the Asian Beach Games, with upbeat summer sounds in the competition venue background music and activities and sideshows for the spectators in between the action.
 
"As well as offering the chance to smaller cities and NOCs to host an OCA event, the Asian Beach Games also provide an opportunity for beach sports athletes to represent their flag in international competition and compete for gold, silver and bronze medals for their country or region.
 
"This is one of the main policies of the OCA - to be inclusive, not exclusive, to all dedicated athletes around the continent and give them a chance to join our Games and to experience, and promote, the Olympic spirit. 
 
"We have seen a rapid rise in the standard of the athletes in our beach and sea sports, from Bali 2008 compared to now, and this experience and high level of competition will help them in their future challenges."

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