PHUKET: Phuket is set to host the fourth-ever Asian Beach Games in 2014 after Thai officials inked a deal with the Olympic Council of Asia on November 13.
Thailand was the only country that made a bid, said Olympic Committee of Thailand president Yutthasak Sasiprabha.
Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradecha said the sporting extravaganza could bring as much as one billion baht to the province.
There will be 15 to 20 events including some or all of the following: handball, kabaddi, takraw, volleyball, sailing, paragliding, football, water skiing, bodybuilding, windsurfing, jet-skiing, triathlon, woodball, swim marathon, boat racing, pencak silat, muay thai, extreme sports, climbing and wakeboarding. Most will take place in Karon and Patong, Gov Tri said.
Gov Tri was joined by Gen Yutthasak and tourism and sports minister Chumpol Silpa-archa in signing the deal with OCA president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
The deal was announced in Guangzhou, China, where the Asian Games are currently underway.
The Asian Beach Games would be an opportunity for Thailand to show off its ability to host world-class international sporting events. The event would also promote tourism, Mr Chumpol said.
Thailand could build on a successful hosting of the Beach Games to attract even larger events to the country in the future. If any country was not ready to host such events, Thailand was ready to step in, he said.
The provisional budget for the games is 500 million baht. After a supervisory committee is appointed it will review the figure and decide if it should be reduced or increased.
Thailand will start promoting the event after the second Asian Beach Games concludes. The event will take place in Muskat, Oman from December 8 to 16.
Phuket is also set to host Thailand’s 28th National Youth Games in 2012, said Gov Tri.
The watchwords of the games will be warmth, happiness, friendship and mutual respect, said Gen Yutthasak.
The Asian Beach Games takes place every two years. The first event took place in Bali, Indonesia in 2008. In terms of gold medals won, Thailand came in second behind Indonesia.
The 2012 event will take place in Haiyang, a coastal city in the east of China.
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