ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg addresses May 2018 World Beach Games press conference at Mission Beach. Photo by Ken Stone

Does America’s Finest City have to drill oil wells to host international sports events?

Two weeks after stripping San Diego of the inaugural World Beach Games, the Association of National Olympic Committees awarded the festival to Qatar.

The petroleum-rich Persian Gulf nation has a million fewer residents than San Diego County’s 3.3 million, but had something in far greater abundance: money.

ANOC on Friday said the Qatar government has provided financial guarantees for an event to be held Oct. 12-16 — only a few days after the original Mission Beach time frame.

Unable to find private sponsorship to help cover a $20 million budget, San Diego lost the 14-sport event and accompanying 206-nation ANOC General Assembly.

“Work has been continuing to ensure our inaugural ANOC World Beach Games is a universal, elite event, with more world-class athletes from around the world qualifying every week,” said ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden.

She said the decision to relocate the inaugural edition to Qatar made prudent financial and sporting sense.

“We are delighted to have established a partnership with the highly experienced team at the Qatar Olympic Committee, backed up with the enthusiastic support of the Qatar government,” she said.

Around the Rings said the Games are set for a waterfront location yet to be announced.

“The late change to the host nation will have no impact on the ongoing qualification process,” said the site covering the Olympic movement. “More than 70 [national Olympic committees] have qualified across the 14 sports, with around 1,400 athletes from up to 90 countries ultimately expected to compete.”

Vincent Mudd, chair of the San Diego group organizing the World Beach Games, said at the time of the cancellation: “At the end of the day, we simply could not reach financial agreements that were amenable to both sides. This was a first-time event with no historical private-sector support and we were prepared to meet ANOC’s goals.”

Meanwhile, Inside the Games is running a poll that asks: After being moved from San Diego, will the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar be a success?

Twenty-one hours after being posted, “yes” was getting 85 percent of the vote.

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