All you need to know about the World Beach Games

The world’s best athletes on sand and sea are heading to Qatar for the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games. Catch it all on Olympic Channel.

By Michael Hincks

More than 1230 athletes from 97 countries will compete at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in Doha from 12-17 October.

With 14 disciplines on display and 350 medals up for grabs, Qatar's capital will again be a hive of activity just days after the conclusion of the IAAF Athletics World Championships.

The Games will showcase Olympic sports with a twist as handball, tennis, wrestling, and football all take to the sand of Katara Beach.

Skateboarding, kata karate, 3x3 basketball and the sport climbing discipline of bouldering will also feature ahead of their debuts at Tokyo 2020.

And you can watch all the action from Qatar live on Olympic Channel.

Tokyo 2020 debutants in the spotlight

The majority of the action will take place on Katara Beach but, away from the sand, two sports making their Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020 will take centre stage at Aspire Park.

Skateboarding and bouldering are gearing up for their Olympic bow next year, with the latter one of three sport climbing disciplines.

So where better to brush up on your skateboarding and bouldering knowledge than the World Beach Games?

The Games also fall a month after 11-year-old sensation Sky Brown finished third at the Park Skateboarding World Championships.

She is the most famous member of the 21-strong Team GB squad in the Qatari capital.

Among the climbers travelling to the Middle East are Billy Ridal, with Emily Phillips and Nathan Phillips tackling the walls in Doha.

Titans of Beach Soccer collide

Back on the beach, the biggest names and nations in beach soccer will be vying for the title as inaugural World Beach Games champions.

Brazil captain Bruno Xavier – named the world’s best player in 2014 – will lead the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup holders’ charge.

European champions Portugal surprisingly failed to qualify despite being ranked second behind Brazil, but Russia, Iran and Italy will be among the challengers for the crown.

Spain – spearheaded by current FIFA Best Player Llorenc Gomez – will also look to go the distance in Qatar, with the event a precursor for October’s World Cup in Paraguay.

The women’s tournament will see Spain and Russia renew their rivalry, while the newly-formed Brazil team will be aiming to throw their name in the mix.

Spain are the top-ranked women's side in Europe, but have been beaten by Russia in the last two Euro Beach Soccer Cup finals.

England, European champions in 2017, will feature as Great Britain in Doha, with Cape Verde flying the flag for Africa after winning the African Beach Games.

There will be Beach Soccer live on Olympic Channel every day from 11-16 October.

Men's competition

Group A: Brazil, Switzerland, UAE, and Morocco

Group B: Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Solomon Islands

Group C: Iran, Paraguay, Senegal, and Ukraine

Group D: Russia, Japan, Uruguay, and El Salvador

Women's competition

Group A: Spain, Brazil, Cape Verde, and Mexico

Group B: Great Britain, Russia, USA, and Paraguay

Brazil have a hand on the gold?

There’s no doubt about it. Brazil are the team to beat in beach handball.

The South American nation are the reigning men’s world champions, and have won five of the eight Beach Handball World Championships since its inception in 2004.

Croatia have been their main competitors of late, reaching the last three finals, while World Beach Games hosts Qatar will be looking to win a medal after picking up bronze in 2016 and 2018.

In the women’s, Brazil have finished in the top three at the past seven editions of the World Championships, but have not won since 2014.

Greece are the defending champions, while you can expect Norway to be there or thereabouts after they picked up three bronzes and one silver since taking home gold in 2010.

Men's competition

Group A: Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Oman, USA, Australia

Group B: Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Qatar, Uruguay, Tunisia

Women's competition

Group A: Brazil, Denmark, Hungary, Argentina, USA, Tunisia

Group B: Greece, Spain, Poland, China, Australia, Vietnam

The Queen of Kata

A total of 64 karatekas will go for gold in the individual kata karate competition in Qatar from 12-13 October.

Spain's ‘Queen of Kata’ Sandra Sanchez will be the big name at the event.

The world champion has her sights on glory at Tokyo 2020, but will first be looking to outclass a number of continental winners.

Damian Quintero will hope to make it a Spanish double in the men's competition after taking silver at the last two World Championships.

His biggest rival on paper will be two-time world champion Antonio Diaz of Venezuela.

Beach wrestle-mania

Beach wrestling is going from strength to strength.

In 2019, the inaugural Beach Wrestling World Series was born, and the discipline now has eight ‘Kings and Queens of the Beach’ after September’s finale in Croatia.

Georgian trio Levan Kelekhsashvili (70kg), Davit Khutsishvili (80kg) and Dato Marsagishvili (90kg) head to the World Beach Games as champions.

So too Azerbaijani heavyweight Oyan Naziaran.

Ukraine duo Kateryna Mashkevych (50kg) and Anna Mazurkevych (70kg) also won in Croatia, with Greece’s Aikaterini Eirini Pitsiava (+70kg) and Brazil’s Camila Fama Tristao (60kg) also crowned ‘Queens of the Beach’.

Jumping for joy

Belarusian duo Aliaksandra Danisheuskaya and Hanna Straltsova are two of the best waterski jumpers in the world, and they will take on 10 more women for gold in Qatar.

Straltsova finished second at the IWWF World Waterski Championships earlier this year behind Jacinta Carroll, who will not be competing, while Greece’s Marie Vympranietsova will want to medal after finishing fourth in August.

Austria's Claudio Koestenberger, Chile’s Emile Ritter and Czech Martin Kolman will be eyeing the medals in the men’s.

Taking place one week before the IWWF Wakeboard World Championships, the World Beach Games will be the perfect preparation for athletes before making the journey over to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

American Jamie Lopina is the headline name among the women’s wakeboarders.

However, Italian sisters Alicia and Chiara Virag and the Netherlands’ Sanne Meijer are among the athletes hoping Lopina does not leave the competition in their wake.

In the men’s, Massimiliano Piffaretti was second two years ago, and the former world champion heads to Qatar in good form after winning August's IWWF European & African Championships.

Japan’s Shota Tezuka will also be in the mix along with Australia's reigning IWWF World Wakeboard champion Cory Teunissen.

In then out of the water

Men’s world No 1 Sergiy Kurochkin and women’s No 2 Antoanela Manac are the highest-ranked athletes heading into the Aquathlon, which is a triathlon without the cycling leg.

However, they will face fierce competition in what is set to be a wide-open event.

Kurochkin finished 13th and Manac seventh as Rostislav Pevtsov and Alicja Ulatowska were victorious at the Aquathlon World Championships back in May.

Pevtsov and Ulatowska will hope to run and swim their way to gold in Qatar on 14-15 October.

Full schedule

Aquathlon – 14-15 October – Katara Beach

3x3 Basketball – 13-16 October – Katara Beach

Bouldering – 13-14 October – Aspire Park

Beach Handball – 11-16 October – Al Gharafa Beach Handball Arena

Karate Kata Individual – 12-13 October – Katara Beach

Kitefoil Racing – 13-16 October – Katara Beach

Skateboarding – 14-15 October – Aspire Park

Beach Soccer – 11-16 October – Katara Beach

Open Water 5km – 13 October – Katara Beach

Beach Tennis – 12-16 October – Katara Beach

Beach Volleyball 4x4 – 12-16 October – Al Gharafa Beach Handball Arena

Waterski Jump – 13-14 October – Ritz Carlton Canal

Wakeboarding – 13-14 October – Ritz Carlton Canal

Beach Wrestling – 14-15 October – Katara Beach


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