By Nick Butler on Karon Beach in Phuket

Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu took gold on the beach in squash this evening ©ITGHarinder Pal Singh Sandhu picked up the first Indian gold of the Asian Beach Games here this evening by outlasting Hong Kong rival Yip Tze Fung in a topsy-turvy men's singles squash final.

The 25-year-old, ranked 60th in the world and part of the Indian Asian Games gold medal winning team in Incheon was always expected to be too strong for his opponent, and duly was, but not without a few wobbles along the way.

After his consistency proved too much in the first game as he won 7-2 in the shortened first-to-seven and best-of-three-set format, Yip, ranked 83rd in the world, began to find his range, producing some lovely disguised drop-shots to take the second, 7-5.

But with the players visibly tiring in the decider, Sandhu held his nerve to triumph 7-3 before being handed gold by India's Olympic Council of Asia secretary general, and keen squash player, Randhir Singh. 

On a specially constructed court a mere pebble's throw from the sea, the competition showed the versatility of the sport and thus provided a further boost in the quest for Olympic inclusion, reignited again this year by the Agenda 2020 discussions in the Olympic Movement.

This was particularly because the rain which caused havoc here yesterday did not materialise this time around.

Spectators stood virtually on the beach to watch the squash finals ©ITGSpectators stood virtually on the beach to watch the squash finals ©ITG

Singh was among those to speak positively about the event afterwards, telling insidethegames squash would be a great addition to the Olympic programme, particularly for India due to the possibility of medal success. 

In the women's competition meanwhile, Hong Kong put aside their male disappointment as in the absence of Malaysia's world number number one Nicol David, Liu Tsz Ling swept aside compatriot Tong Tze Wing, 7-2, 7-0 in a far more one-sided clash.

In a Games which has so far been notable for the comparative lack of East Asian domination seen at other recent continental events, there was success for China today in another sport vying for Olympic inclusion, with their women scurrying to sport climbing relay gold.

Duan Zhenkun also secured Chinese victory in the women's cable wakeboarding, while Im San of South Korea won the corresponding men's event.

Cable wakeboarding was a highlight today at the Asian Beach Games ©Getty ImagesCable wakeboarding was a highlight today at the Asian Beach Games ©Getty Images

There was also a further South Korean victory for women's under 60 kilogram beach wrestler, Kim Kyeongeun, while Taiwan also secured gold through under 57kg kurash player Lee Wai Ting.

But there was plenty of central Asian success, with Kazakhstan taking the men's relay in sport climbing, Iran taking under 80kg men's wrestling gold through Seyed Hosseinijam, and Uzbekistan ensuring a kurash double.

Davlat Abraev won the men's 73kg title before compatriot Sayar Tukhtashov triumphed in the under 81kg division. 

Considering the sport originated in the region, and that the honorary President of the International Kurash Association is Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, this was not too much of a surprise. 

The kurash competition also provided an opportunity for one of the minnows of Asian sport, as Ahmad Salem Salem Ayash took silver for war-torn Yemen in the under 81kg category.

Not wanting to be left out, Thailand and the rest of the southeast Asia enjoyed their chance to shine in the beach pétanque competition, with the host nation overcoming Vietnamese and Malaysian opponents to win the men and women's doubles titles.

Vietnam did however beat Thailand to gain victory in the mixed pairs event.

Thailand's men celebrate doubles gold in beach pétanque ©Phuket 2014Thailand's men celebrate doubles gold in beach pétanque ©Phuket 2014

Elsewhere today, action began in sailing and sepak takraw, and it hotted up in the preliminary stage of men's beach soccer, with Oman edging Syria 6-5 in the most exciting match of the day, while hosts Thailand overcame Kuwait, 2-0.