By Nick Butler at the Saphan Hin Sports Centre in Phuket

Skateboarders perform in from of an enthusiastic crowd in the "Stunt Park" competition ©ITGHong Kong and Thailand each won gold medals on the final day of skateboarding action here at the Asian Beach Games in a sport currently enjoying a phenomenal rise on the continent.

In comparison with the United States and other parts of the world, skateboarding, for one reason or another, had never truly taken off on Asian soil, lacking the infrastructure, culture and personnel to enjoy the cult rise seen elsewhere.

But in recent years all that has changed and its Beach Games debut here this week has been another breakthrough for a discipline that could still feature on an Olympic programme six years from now in the Asian city of Tokyo.

After the excitement of the "Game of Skate" competition yesterday, first up today was the "Stunt Park" competition, where athletes rode their way across a number of obstacles, a test of their technical prowess most accessible for the purists rather than those seeking only spectacular moves.

Johnnie Chun Yin Tang of Hong Kong was the class act, with two strong runs to win with a score of 78.00 points, beating home favourite Athiwat Rueangsri, with Liu Jiaming of Ching third.

But the sizable crowd, dominated by home supporters waving flags and cheering on their stars, were soon stirred up as the "Best Trick" competition began, with loud music by the likes of Greenday and Rage Against the Machine creating an atmosphere more akin to perceptions of the sport.

After successfully pulling off a "360 flip board side on hand rail", Pakors Panutai gave the home fans what they wanted to take victory for Thailand, ahead of Wang Guohua of China and compatriot Napat Wijidjarung.

"It's amazing how much the sport is growing in Asia," International Skateboarding Federation President Gary Ream, here attending the Games, told insidethegames afterwards.

"One day skateboarding will be bigger here than in the US."

Athletes set off in the men's modern pentathlon individual race ©Getty ImagesAthletes set off in the men's modern pentathlon individual race ©Getty Images

At the other end of the sporting scale in terms of history and heritage, modern pentathlon made its Asian Beach Games debut today, 24 hours later than anticipated due to the weather.

But this was a new and innovative format of this oldest of sports, with competitors tackling a continuous course consisting of four 100 metre swimming sections and four 800m running ones, all interspersed with trips to the shooting range.

It was East Asia who dominated as Jun Woongtae crossed the line 13 seconds clear of South Korean team mate Lee Jihun to win the men's titles, before Huo Qi of China won the women's event.

There was a first victory for medals table toppers Thailand today in beach athletics as Khanrutai Pakdee stopped the clock to win the women's 60 metres in 8.06sec, while Iswandi Iswandi of Indonesia took male honours in 7.10.

Iswandi Iswandi (right) of Indonesia took gold in the men's 60m sprint ©Getty ImagesIswandi Iswandi (right) of Indonesia took gold in the men's 60m sprint ©Getty Images

But the most symbolic moment came when Majd Eddin Ghazar won the first gold medal for war-torn Syria at the Games, clearing 1.98 metres to win the high jump.

Elsewhere, Vietnam and Thailand took male and female triples titles in beach pétanque, while, of the six gold medals up for grabs today in water skiing and wakeboarding events, China took three while there was one each for Singapore, Lebanon and Japan.

Japan also remain on course for gold tomorrow in beach soccer, easing past Vietnam, 7-2 today, while Iran required a penalty shootout to edge past the United Arab Emirates after a 4-4 draw.

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