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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - San Diego will host the inaugural World Beach Games in 2017 after the general council of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) voted on Friday to back the bid of the city in Southern California.
San Diego was the only candidate put forward to the general council after ANOC's executive council selected the city ahead of interest from the Sarasota in Florida, as well as Dubai, Sochi and a possible Chinese venue.
"This is an historic moment for ANOC and the NOC family. The ANOC World Beach Games has been a key priority for nearly two years and today we took a step closer to making our vision a reality," said ANOC president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
"We were very impressed by the plan that San Diego put forward. We have worked closely with industry experts to devise an innovative concept which will blend sport, culture and entertainment and we believe that San Diego is the perfect city to deliver our vision.
"The ANOC World Beach Games will be something new and exciting that people have not seen before. It will help NOCs to reconnect with a whole generation of young people and deliver a positive and lasting legacy for the Olympic movement."
The decision is a further boost to the U.S. Olympic Committee's attempt to become more closely involved in Olympic activities and comes as another Californian city, Los Angeles, is bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
Around 20 sports are expected to feature in the World Beach Games which are scheduled to start in late September and will mainly take place on Mission Beach, with some four events being held on the downtown piers.
Beach volleyball and beach soccer are likely to be the marquee events, along with surfing, but the Games could feature three-on-three basketball as well as BMX riding and E-Sports -- or video gaming.
Vincent Mudd, chairman of the San Diego Exploratory Foundation, told Reuters that the city's beach sports culture made it the natural choice.
"We are very excited. When we first heard about what ANOC was looking for in an inaugural Beach Games, all we could think about is that this is what we are doing every day and wouldn't it be great to share it with 206 countries," he said.
"It is a perfect fit. I think this could be the launching of a very positive brand for ANOC."
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes