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San Diego out as host of first World Beach Games

MISSION BEACH, SAN DIEGO, CA: Looking across Mission Beach from the Pacific Ocean.
A view across Mission Beach from the Pacific Ocean
(John Bahu)

It was less than four years ago that San Diego beat out several major cities around the world for the right to host the inaugural World Beach Games, an Olympic-style competition meant to be cost-effective and attractive to young fans.

On Thursday — less than five months before competition was set to begin — the organization behind the international sports event announced it is looking for a new site.

The Assn. of National Olympic Committees said it has entered into discussions with “a number of cities that have the financial guarantees necessary and a proven track record to host a world-class event.”

Organizers in San Diego could not be reached for immediate comment. The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a brief statement.

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“We fully support ANOC leadership’s decision and their commitment to launching the World Beach Games in an environment that will ensure a robust experience for the world’s greatest beach athletes,” USOC spokesman Mark Jones said. “We look forward to being an engaged participant.”

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Athletes from more than 70 nations have already qualified for the World Beach Games, which will feature 14 sports, including beach soccer, 3-on-3 basketball, water ski jumping and wakeboarding.

San Diego sought to act as host after failing in an exploratory bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Organizers proposed creating venues along a stretch of Mission Beach and on downtown piers.

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But attracting corporate sponsorship figured to be a challenge given the games’ lack of pedigree.

ANOC expressed confidence in finding a new host city and said it expects the games, which had been scheduled for Oct. 9-15, will take place this year.

david.wharton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LAtimesWharton


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