How do you fancy going on an all expenses paid trip to China’s Hainan Island, to watch the exciting Asian Beach Games live and up close, surrounded by a music-fuelled beachside carnival atmosphere?

Yes? Then read on and find out how you and a friend can attend, courtesy of the Olympic Council of Asia’s #FlyMeToChina campaign that runs until July 17, 2019.

The Asian Beach Games will be held next year from November 28 to December 5 – in the balmy southern tip of Hainan Island and on the golden sands and sparking blue seas of the Chinese tourist hotpot of Sanya – and will be the biggest event of its kind.

The Games, organised by the Olympic Council of Asia and hosted by the People’s Republic of China, is expected to attract more than 5,000 athletes from teams representing 45 different Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

The athletes – from Japan to Jordan and Mongolia to The Maldives – will join thousands more Olympic officials, sport technicians, global media professionals and, of course, fans. They’ll all be heading to Sanya’s famous shoreline for the greatest beach games event on earth.

Sanya 2020 will feature 14 different beach and water sports that include the already-popular beach versions of soccer, volleyball and basketball, as well as less well known sports such as beach wrestling, sports climbing and dragon boating.

To give some idea of the size and scale of the event, the Olympic Council of Asia describes its Beach Games as the second largest Asian multi-sport event after the Asian Games, which, in turn, is the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. 

This will be the sixth Asian Beach Games. The Games were first held in Bali, Indonesia, in 2008 with subsequent games taking place in Muscat, Oman; Haiyang, China; Phuket, Thailand; and Danang, Vietnam.

The last Asian Beach Games, in Vietnam in 2016, were, in terms of competing athletes, about half the size of the plans  Sanya has for the event and this dramatic growth only reinforces the ever-strengthening popularity of the Games.

There are two predominant reasons behind its success. First, a fun-filled beachside event has an immediate and obvious synergy with host venues that are already popular and established Asian tourist “must see” destinations. Second, because of the Games’ inherent low-key beach-level nature, they are comparatively inexpensive to run and rapid and straightforward to set up. 

Most Games sports require little more than beach-side makeshift “mini stadiums”, made up of essential sports equipment and beach or water course markings, plus temporary spectator seating and simple tented event villages. This simple set up also means the Games come with a comparatively low carbon footprint.

The overall success of the event now means the Olympic Council of Asia is seen as a world leader in Beach Games. In October this year, the inaugural World Beach Games will be held in Doha, Qatar. This follows the African Beach Games, another inaugural event, that saw about 1,000 athletes gather to compete on the Island of Sal, Cape Verde, in June, this year.

The African Beach Games were organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa and the world event by the Association of National Olympic Committees. Both events are clear testament to the success of the Games in Asia.

The Asian Beach Games next venue in Sanya  that boasts 20 kilometres of tropical beaches and has become known as “China’s Hawaii” with a superb, modern infrastructure network – will definitely benefit the event’s future.

The two main beachside competition clusters are only 15 minutes from the airport and the Games facilities are so centralised that organisers claim that vehicles won’t be needed to transport athletes from hotels to training or competition venues. 

The opening and closing ceremonies will be held, fittingly, on Sanya beach and the resultant TV images will be broadcast around the world. It is an event too good to miss.

So enter #FlyMeToChina now!

The Olympic Council of Asia’s #FlyMeToChina  campaign runs until July 17th, 2019.

To win an all expenses paid trip, for two, to the 2020 Asian Beach Games in Sanya, China, follow and like the Olympic Council of Asia’s official instagram page and then tag five friends on your contest post. Then post a comment explaining why you should win two holidays to the 2020 Asian Beach Games to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The names of competition winners will be published on all Olympic Council of Asia social media platforms within 15 days of the #FlyMeToChina campaign closing.

#FlyMeToChina  is organised by the Olympic Council of Asia.

Asia Times is a media partner of the 2020 Asian Beach Games.

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