Beach rowing began with a sprint on the sand ©ITG

Thailand and China took the final two gold medals on the Asian Beach Games rowing programme in what proved a bittersweet day for the Vietnamese hosts.

Rowing is making its Asian Beach Games debut here, utilising a new format of the sport which is appearing at only its second multi-sport event after last year's Mediterranean Beach Games in Pescara.

Action began with a cox sprinting down the sand before leaping into a specially constructed coastal boat to join team-mates as they navigated a slalom course out to sea.

They then raced back to shore in a head-to-head knock-out format before sprinting up the sand once again to the finish line.

It was a format which combined speed, endurance and technical ability, while also attracting large crowds in a makeshift stand placed on the beach.

The knock-out system also meant rowers had barely 10 minutes to recover between their semi-finals and finals.

Thailand won the day's first title in the men's coxed quad sculls event after a seven second victory over Vietnamese opposition.

They crossed the line in 2min 33.70sec as China edged-out Indonesia for bronze.

China proved too dominant in the women's coxed quad sculls event ©ITG
China proved too dominant in the women's coxed quad sculls event ©ITG

Vietnam hoped to go one better in the corresponding women's event, but came unstuck when performing their 180 degree turn at the top of the course. 

They rowed one way and then the other, but were unable to turn as Indonesian opponents caught and then passed them to eventually win by a minute.

Vietnam did recover to win bronze before China overcame the Indonesians to win gold in 2:56.49.

It was a triumph for a sport which is still hoping of being added to the programme for the Association of National Olympic Committees World Beach Games in San Diego in 2019.

Sambo is in a different position to rowing in that it is trying to one day be added to the Olympic programme, rather than show innovation in order to preserve its position there.

Kyrgyzstan became the third Central Asian nation to win on the second day of competition thanks to Urmat Uulu Mambetzhan in the men's under 74 kilograms competition.

Mongolia won the day's two other finals.

First, Munkhbat Davaasuren took women's under 64kg honours before Battsetseg Tsog-Ochir followed suit in the men's under 72kg division.

Vietnam also secured five gold medals today on a busy day of pencak silat action.

Thailand also claimed three, Malaysia two and Singapore one.

Action here will continue with a final day of competition tomorrow before the Closing Ceremony on Monday (October 3).