Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc at the opening of the fifth Asian Beach Games (Source: VNA)
Da Nang (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc declared the opening of the fifth Asian Beach Games (ABG5) at a ceremony at the Bien Dong Park Square in the central city of Da Nang on September 24 night.

The opening ceremony saw the participation of about 4,600 coaches and athletes from 45 countries and territories worldwide, who are competing in 14 sports with 22 events for 165 medal sets. Nearly 400 reporters, including about 170 foreign journalists, were also present to cover the event.

As one of the largest sports events in Asia, ABG was initiated by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and is held every two years with the first edition in Bali, Indonesia, in 2008.

Themed “Shining Sea, Bright Future,” ABG5 aims to introduce Vietnam to international friends as a beautiful, hospitable and united nation which is looking towards a bright future.

Addressing the ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, who is also head of the ABG5 Steering Committee, affirmed that thanks to efforts of the Da Nang authorities and relevant ministries and agencies, preparations for the event have been completed.

The most awaited part of the opening ceremony was an impressive procession of the Games torch. Five local fishermen brought the torch from the sea to the shore and handed over it to five outstanding Vietnamese athletes, including Hoang XuanVinh, who won one gold and one silver at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

On the night, participants were also entertained with an art programme highlighting the special culture of Vietnam and Da Nang city in particular, as well as Vietnamese’s desire for a peaceful and hospitable Asia.

The Vietnamese athletes will show off their skills at all sports, aiming to be among the top of the tournament. The country ranked fourth with eight gold, 12 silver and 20 bronze medals in the fourth Asian Beach Games, which took place in Phuket, Thailand in 2014.

The event offers an opportunity for Vietnam to develop beach games while helping Da Nang city promote its tourism.

Up to 3,000 hotel rooms in Da Nang are available forparticipating officials and athletes. Besides, the locality has organised various cultural and culinary festivals, along with launching special tours on this occasion.

The closing ceremony is scheduled for October 3.-VNA