Grzegorz Pyzałka, Sports Director of the Wroclaw Organising Committee, describes what it means to set the stage for the best athletes. 24 venues are needed to run The World Games 2017 in Poland. And he wants to showcase the best sights of this city in Lower Silesia.
How many venues are needed to run the event? And could you describe the process of identifying the appropriate facilities?
- Pyzałka: The whole process was complicated. On the one hand, in line with the rules of The World Games, we wanted to use as many existing venues as we could. On the other hand there were expectations from the International Federations’ side and our wish to create a good legacy. We proposed venues for each sport and started to meet with the federations. These meetings were based on the first draft of the sports programme. Sometimes we had to find alternatives, but in the end, after some good compromises, we decided to run the event using 24 venues (20 inside Wroclaw, 4 outside the city) and to implement our investment plans.
How did you decide on the venues?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: The base line was the sports rules for each sport. Then we had to look at what is available in our city or in the neighbourhood. After that we gave full consideration to all the required systems, suitability for media coverage, the possibilities of adding temporary infrastructure, etc. From our point of view the chance to use one venue for more than one sport was a matter of great importance. So we will present DanceSport and part of the Gymnastics competition at the same venue. And the same with some of the Martial Arts competitions.
How do you manage the change of sport at a venue that will host more than one sport?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: Sometimes we have only one night to rearrange the venue. There shouldn’t be any problem if we are talking about small changes like at the Gem Sport Complex, where we have Karate and Ju–jitsu. But in other cases we’ll have only one night to create a dance venue after a gymnastic competition. Therefore we will prepare as much of the equipment as we can on the initial set-up days. In order to turn everything “behind the scenes”, we will have constant use of each venue.
The IWGA does not require new venues for its event. What do you think about this concept of making use of existing facilities?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: I support it 100%, but in our city there was no possibility of not building new venues. The needs should become clear from local pressures, however, and TWG can be a good catalyst for change. But that’s only one point. The other one: It brings the opportunity to be creative and to present not only the sports but also the best sights of Wroclaw. We will showcase sport events in the impressive Centennial Hall, and make use of the beautiful park in front of it to present Archery and Boule sports. The National Forum of Music, a brand new concert hall, will be the venue for Powerlifting. Our new Zoo will be in centre stage when the Orienteering events are run. These are just some examples of how we want to combine sports and the best sights of our city.
Will there be any new venues?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: The City of Wroclaw decided to build one new venue. We are currently working on the construction of the Roller Skating Tracks. We are rebuilding another two, creating a new Swimming Pool Complex and modernising the Olympic Stadium. Our partner, the City of Świdnica, is also making a very big investment in providing the rink for Inline Hockey.
Which venues have been refurbished because of TWG?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: I’m wondering which venues have not been refurbished because of TWG! We have made many investments which you will not see, like a new electrical system in the building or an internet fibre connection to the venue. I’m very happy that the refurbishment of the venues will be one of the biggest legacy points after The World Games 2017. It gives new opportunities for citizens, and if you come again to Wroclaw in a few years’ time you will see that the venues are being fully utilised.
Are there any special challenges, such as building the dojo for Sumo?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: We cooperate with International Federations, National Federations and strong local clubs to prepare the field-of-play areas and provide appropriate sports equipment. So I am not very concerned about how to build a dojo. There will be an expert coming from the federation, who will make sure that everything will be done in the way it is needed for the athletes. To be honest, I am curious to see how he does it. Nevertheless each venue adaptation is a challenge. It’s our goal to build the best platforms possible in each sport, for we expect the best athletes to compete here in Wroclaw. They deserve to get the best. Talking about concerns, most of my thoughts are focused on climbing walls. We decided to create the venue for Sport Climbing right in the middle of the city centre. This is definitely a big challenge! On the other hand we expect an outstanding atmosphere during the competition days because of being in the city centre.
How will the people in Wroclaw benefit from the new venues or the refurbishment?
Grzegorz Pyzałka: Each solution is planned not only for sport competition but also with full regard to daily use. We already had plans of how to use the new venues before we decided to build them. That’s why the 50m swimming pool can be converted into two 25m swimming pools, and around the speed skating track for professionals there’s a road track for amateurs. Speedway and American Football are very popular in Poland, and the Olympic Stadium has been the venue for this kind of event for years. Right now we can provide a perfect stage for the kinds of matches and races which we see in our city very frequently.