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San Diego Loses Hosting Duties For World Beach Games

Volleyball players at Mission Beach in this undated photo.

Photo by Ed Joyce / KPBS

Above: Volleyball players at Mission Beach in this undated photo.

The Association of National Olympic Committees announced Thursday the World Beach Games, scheduled to be held in San Diego later this year, will be moved to a new, undetermined location due to funding challenges.

San Diego beat out multiple major cities in 2015 in the bidding to host the inaugural Olympic-style competition that includes sports like three-on-three basketball, beach soccer and surfing that are designed to appeal to a younger audience. The competition was originally scheduled for 2017 but was postponed in 2016 to October 2019.

Now those plans will not come to fruition.

ANOC officials confirmed Thursday that the World Beach Games will find a new location after the San Diego Exploratory Foundation, the competition's local organizer, could not secure the funding necessary to adequately host the six-day event.

The ANOC put out a brief statement on the cancellation, stating that it intends to bring the competition to a host city that "provides the best possible environment for NOCs and their athletes."

"The games will take place in 2019 and ANOC is currently in discussion with a number of cities that have the financial guarantees necessary and a proven track record to host a world-class event," the organization said in the statement. "An announcement on the new host city will be made in due course."

Hosting duties could fall to one of the other cities that placed a bid in 2015: Sarasota, Florida, Dubai, Sochi or an unnamed city in China. Multiple cities in Asia also have hosted a similar event, the Asian Beach Games, since 2008.

"We greatly appreciate everyone's work on diligently preparing our city for the games," the foundation said in a statement, according to Around the Rings. "While it may not happen this year, San Diego will always be a wonderful location for major international events, and, the San Diego Exploratory Foundation will continue pursuing opportunities to host many more exciting activities in the future."

The event would have been held in Mission Bay and along multiple piers in downtown. More than 1,300 athletes are expected to participate in the competition when it is eventually held.

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