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First South Asian Beach Games begins

(Xinhua)

14:59, October 09, 2011

HAMBANTOTA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka officially opened the first ever South Asian Beach Games in Southern city of Hambantota with the participation of eight countries in South Asia.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who opened the biggest sports event in the country after 2009, said the games will contribute to further enhancing the image of the country as a visitor destination.

Opening the games with a colorful dance and traditional events, President Rajapaksa in a message stated that 10 beach sporting events including beach basketball, football, handball, netball, marathon swimming, life saving, wind surfing, kabaddi and equestrian would go on October 14 at three venues around southern town Hambantota, some 300 kilometers from capital Colombo.

A total of 359 sports personnel are taking part in the inaugural beach games in South Asia and Sri Lanka Sports Minister said rising from 30 years civil war and tsunami, the event would prove that the island nation could host Common Wealth Games 2018.

The South Asian Beach Games is also a precursor to strengthen Sri Lanka's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Sri Lanka's Hambantota and Australia's Gold Coast are bidding for next Commonwealth Games and on October 11 the decision will be announced.

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