IJSBA is just completed officiating at the Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand. Six nations participated in this Olympic Event which consisted of fantastic racing in between a beautiful opening ceremony and an emotional medal ceremony.
The Opening Ceremonies were a very beautiful display of the camaraderie and international pride. The productions that were put on coordinated performers and athletes along with some stunning visuals and pyrotechnics. There seems to be no other organization that can open a competition quite like an Olympic Council. Just prior to the Opening Ceremonies a rain storm blew through the park. Fortunately, a seasoned worker in Thailand (Simon Rix) was experienced enough to know it was coming and we joined a group of other amateur weather forecasters in finding some temporary shelter. Our refuge was in the food prep areas for the VIP tent. The chefs were generous enough to let a crowd of people rush in and stand in every available inch of cover until the storm passed. Upon leaving the prep area, one of our hosts noticed our credentials and asked why we didn’t go in the actual VIP tent for which we were authorized. Embarrassed, we did indeed visit the area and found it to be a good suggestion. Returning to the stadium, we witnessed numerous countries parading through the grounds with their flag and several team members. Indonesia was represented by the Jet Ski Sport’s Aero Aswar. Fireworks, neon props, dancing, and Comments by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah officially opened the games followed by the athletes and referees oath.
The first day of racing brought hot weather and enthusiastic competitors to the venue. Three categories were offered on day one: Ski Open, Runabout 1000, and Runabout Stock. Each category did three motos on a one and a half minute course. The course was single gate and offered an option split on both sides of the track. The Thai riders wasted no time in claiming their homefield advantage. Veerapon Maneechom won Moto one of Ski Open with UAE’s Almur Bin Huraia, originally in third place, called for riding with a knee in the tray after having a temporary injury during the heat. Thailand’s Teerapong Khunjeng handily won Moto 1 of Runabout 1000. The Thai streak was quickly broken when Indonesia’s Aqsa Aswar won the first moto of Runabout Open.
Bin Huraiz captured the moto two win of Ski Open showing an impressive control of his watercraft. Thailand’s Teera Settura brought back momentum to his country by winning moto two of Runabout 1000 superstock. Indonesia retained wins in Runabout stock, but it went to a different rider, in the same family, with Aero Aswar commanding a win among some very fast and competitive watercraft. Moto three provided two repeats. Bin Huraiz captured the final Ski Open win and Khunjeng returned to first place in Runabout 1000 Superstock. Kuwait took their first checkered flag with Abdullah Al Fadhel winning moto three of Runabout Stock. The knee in the tray call would deprive Bin Huraiz of an overall win despite his powerful performances in the second motos.
The second day of racing offered to categories: Runabout Open and Sport GP. Settura Supak, of Thailand, struck first taking the Sport GP moto one win. Thailand’s Chok-Uthit Molee won moto one of Runabout Open. Moto two was a repeat of moto one for both categories. Thailand looked to be heading towards a sweep for the day when Thanarwin Phakphokhai won the final moto of Sport GP. However, Youseff Abudulrazzaq , of Kuwait, ended the streak by winning the final Moto of Runabout Open.
The third day of racing consisted solely of Endurance Racing. Competitors from all nations competed on a large course, traveling almost out of sight before turning back towards the beach. The course was approximately 4.75 minutes long at full throttle. The conditions of the day started sunny and hot with the riders only having to endure a small degree of chop. For some, the LeMans start may have been as much as a challenge as some of the water conditions. Moto 1 was exciting with several position changes on the large track. Fuel management was only an issue for just a few throttle happy competitors. One of those competitors was Aqsa Aswar who enjoyed a good performance until sputtering out of fuel. His brother, Aero, backed off on the throttle the last couple of laps in order to ensure he did had enough fuel. The first moto was won by Chalermpoj Viriyahphan who clamped on the throttle and never let go. Moto two saw as much cerebral riding as it was fast. Aero Aswar ripped out of the gate with his brother Aqsa fiercly following. Aero would be seated an overall win if he won the event but Aqsa, having run out of fuel early, needed to claim as high of a position as possible to try and earn a spot on the podium. Both riders maintained leads with Aqsa never having quite the opportunity to pass his brother. A very frustrated Viritanphan tried to pass Aqsa several times, and would edge ahead of him on the back stretch only to have Aqsa pass him back before the chicaynes coming into the scoring tower. The overall win would stay with Aero.
A storm held off the medal ceremony for about 30 minutes. When it began, delegates from several nations applauded all of the medal winners. Jet Ski Sport athletes who earned Medals were as follows:
GOLD: MANEECHOM Veerapong, THA
SILVER: HURAIZ Almur, UAE
BRONZE: PUPAKDEE Nuttakorn, THA
Runabout 1000 Superstock
GOLD: KHUNJENG Teerapong, THA
SILVER: ALFADHEL Abdullah, KUW
BRONZE: SETTURA Teera, THA
GOLD: ASWAR Aqsa Sutan, INA
SILVER: ASWAR Aero Sutan, INA
BRONZE: ALFADHEL Abdullah, KUW
GOLD: PHAKPHOKHAI Thanarwin, THA
SILVER: SETTURA Supak, THA
BRONZE: ALFADHEL Abdullah, KUW
GOLD: MOLEE Chok-Uthit, THA
SILVER: ALABDULRAZZAQ Yousef, KUW
BRONZE: ASWAR Aero Sutan, INA
GOLD: ASWAR Aero Sutan, INA
SILVER: VIRIYAHPHAN Chalermpoj, THA
BRONZE: ASWAR Aqsa Sutan, INA
Congratulations to all of the medal winners. To see all of this information on the official Asian Beach Games website, please visit: http://info2014.phuket2014.org/eng/zz/ZZS103B_PH2014JS@@@@@@@ENG.htm