Hambantota, Sri Lanka: The inaugural South Asian Beach Games were held in Hambantota from October 8-14, 2011. Hambantota is a city that is rising to be an economic hub from the ruins of the tsunami and is also a candidate city to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The opening ceremony was held on the evening of October 8 on the beach of Hambantota. HE Mahinda Rajapakse, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, was chief guest.
The Hon. Namal Rajapakse, Hon. Dilan Perera, Chairman of SABG Organising Committee, Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Sport, Hon. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Lt. Gen. Syed Arif Hasan, Vice President of OCA, Hon.
Mohamed Rasheed, State Minister of Youth & Sport in Maldives, President & Secretary General of NOC Maldives and the President & Secretary General of Nepal also graced this prestigious occasion. It was a colourful and glamorous evening which ended with fireworks.
There was a large participation of about 500 athletes and officials from eight countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
It was planned to hold 12 sports, but triathlon and body building were dropped due to the lack of entries. The 10 sports were: equestrian, marathon swimming, beach basketball, beach kabaddi, life saving, beach soccer, windsurfing, beach handball, beach volleyball and beach netball.
India came first with 11 gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals, ahead of Sri Lanka (9-10-9) and Pakistan (5-2-4). The closing ceremony was held on October 14 and all the athletes gathered on the beach of Hambantota. Hon. Chamal Rajapakse, the Speaker of the Parliament, was chief guest.
The 1st South Asian Beach Games, Hambantota 2011, was successfully concluded and added a remarkable new chapter to Olympic history.