Birmingham and beyond

Birmingham and beyond

The International World Games Association is looking beyond the 11th edition of its event in Birmingham, USA this July. Future-oriented topics such as e-gaming, plans for the introduction of an Athletes Commission and the concept for the new The World Games Series will be on the agenda of the Annual General Meeting on 19th May in Madrid.

In the past two years the representatives of the now 39 member federations were only able to exchange views remotely during the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year the Board, led by President José Perurena, has been able to invite them to an on-site meeting again. But because there are still travel restrictions due to the Corona pandemic, the IWGA is allowing online participation at the same time. Nine federations will make use of this option.

Mayor Woodfin invites the world

This year, elections to the Board and applications for membership do not have to be processed by the participants. Instead, they will be looking with great interest at the presentation by the Birmingham Organising Committee (BOC). Mayor Randall Woodfin will report personally about the great expectations of his city in welcoming the world to Birmingham. This is not an exaggeration: athletes from 109 countries have qualified for the event in Alabama. Nick Sellers, CEO of the BOC, will present remotely the state of preparation in collaboration with Jay Kasten, BOC’s Chief Operating Officer, who will be in Madrid and prepared to take questions from the member federations’ representatives.

Nick Sellers will then present the stars of the opening and closing ceremonies. Hunter Kowald – air engineer, real life goblin, inventor, developer of the 'SkySurfer Aircraft' and founder of Manned Aviation, will attend the opening ceremony on 7th July at the Protective Stadium in Alabama. Lionel Richie will be the headliner when the 11th edition of The World Games concludes on 17th July. The IWGA flag will then be handed over to the city of Chengdu, Peoples Republic of China, where the 2025 Games will take place. And regarding celebrities, IOC President Thomas Bach has agreed to attend the Games in Birmingham, Alabama.

On the Way to an Athletes Commission

During the AGM, however, the IWGA will also be looking to the future. It begins in Birmingham. As part of the Sports Garden, a hands-on event in the heart of the Games, the IWGA will showcase eGaming with virtual versions of Baseball, Racquetball and Archery. In cooperation with the member federations, the IWGA intends to develop the eGaming project further, with more sports ‘on screen’. In addition, the Board wants to discuss plans for an Athletes Commission with the delegates. IWGA President José Perurena sees the establishment of such a commission as a logical step. "One of our principles is that we put the athlete at the centre. That's why it's so important to give our athletes a voice in the further development of our Games."

TWG Series on the horizon

One of the projects for further development is The World Games Series. In between the Games, which take place every four years, smaller multi-sport events organised by the IWGA will provide a platform for members of The World Games family. The World Games Series showcases sports that are not on the Olympic programme to the media and to the public. Joachim Gossow, CEO of the IWGA, says: "We have worked out the concept and made first contacts with potential partners and host cities. The exchange during the AGM will serve to put the project on as broad a basis as possible. We can make the Series a real success only with the cooperation with our member federations."

José Perurena also emphasises that this year's meeting in Madrid has a decidedly personal touch. "We have many important topics to talk about and we will do so purposefully and with seriousness. But I am also and especially looking forward to finally meeting many friends and companions from the world of sport in person again, after more than two years."

 The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.