09 March 2011
SID: The World Games will mostlikely return to Duisburg in 2013, after just eight years. What makes Duisburg in cooperation with Düsseldorf so interesting for the IWGA?
Ron Froehlich: Pending ratification of our executive's decision to award The World Games 2013 to Duisburg and Düsseldorf, and subject to the Host City Contract being signed in June, we will return to Germany. The two cities presented a very strong joint bid. It combined Duisburg's hands-on experience as host in 2005 with solid projections for improved games in 2013 through a collaborative effort with Düsseldorf, the NRW capital and another sports hub in one of Europe's most densely populated regions.
SID: Duisburg will be the first city to be the host for a second time, Germany the only country you go into for the third time. Could you imagine that it will be the new home of The World Games where you return on a regular basis?
Ron Froehlich: Interpreting beyond The World Games returning to the same host city for the first time ever would be inappropriate. The International World Games Association has started to revise the bid process for editions beyond 2013. For these editions we are challenged to create even more bidder interest ' and retain the latter much better throughout the whole process. On all continents, in as many countries as possible! We are currently working with our consultants on making exactly that happen for 2017.
SID: Three years ago you've had 505,000 visitors, 2013 you hope for 900,000. What's in your opinion the charme of the 30+ non-Olympic-sports at The World Games?
Ron Froehlich: I have always been convinced that non-Olympic sports, too, are capable of captivating the attention of the public and the media. The Duisburg experience backs me up: the attendance figures as well as the levels of media exposure in 2005 confirm that the 'other' sports ' if well presented ' can be a draw in their own right. The attribute 'non-Olympic' should eventually fall by the wayside ' in the German language too.
SID: More than 3,100 athletes from almost 90 nations fought in 30+ different sports for medals. Are these numbers to beat or do you plan on reducing the sports and the numbers of participants?
Ron Froehlich: It should never be a matter of beating existing participation records. Just like the Olympics, The World Games can hardly grow much bigger in the future. How many and which sports will feature in 2013 is the subject of final negotiations between us and the organisers. The same applies to the number of athletes. An announcement cannot be made at this point. How many and which nations will participate is only conditioned by the qualifying and selection criteria established by our member federations.
SID: Right now there are discussions about boycotting the Olympics because of China's actions in Tibet. You hold the next World games in Taiwan. Are the preparations going well? Do you expect major problems as well?
Ron Froehlich: I have followed these discussions while in Germany, and I side with the views of IOC Vice President Bach and Chancellor Merkel. Ours are sports organisations and not state governments. Our first and foremost concern must be the athletes deserving the opportunity to enter international competition. While we cannot solve political problems, we can come up with pragmatic formulas which allow for all athletes to participate in events like the Olympics or The World Games. The name 'Chinese Taipei' is such a formula ' and one that could well inspire the politicians too. It allows athletes representing the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee to compete alongside those representing the Chinese Olympic Committee.
The Kaohsiung organisers adhere to this formula ' as is required of them by a clause in the Host City Contract ' and they progress well in their preparations for The World Games 2009.