IWGA Interview of the Month: Aria Siami, Chef de Mission, Team Austria

IWGA Interview of the Month: Aria Siami, Chef de Mission, Team Austria

Aria Siami is leading Team Austria as Chef de Mission at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, USA. Together with Stephan Schwabl (Head of Media), Aria Siami took part in the two-day meeting of the National Olympic Committees and National Sports Organizations in the host city of the 11th edition of The World Games. The Chef de Mission describes his impressions of the visit to Birmingham in the IWGA interview of the Month.

How helpful and informative was the two-day meeting in Birmingham, from your point of view?

Aria Siami: Birmingham was worth the trip for us for many reasons; we had many questions in our luggage. These were all answered. Right before the official sessions, we had a first informal exchange with the participating international federations. The presentations, and personal discussions with the IWGA officials and the organizing committee, filled all the blanks. And very important for us was also the first impression of the city and the sports facilities, which was more than positive.

What were the most important lessons learned?

Aria Siami: We already started our planning and preparations for The World Games 2022 in the summer. It is our goal to take another step forward compared to the Games in Wroclaw 2017 - in all areas. This starts with travel management, continues with on-site support and ends with visibility in Austria. We received valuable information for all these areas, but it was at least as important for us to get to know the people involved, which will certainly make our work easier in the coming weeks and months.

What is your impression of Birmingham?

Aria Siami: After our arrival we explored the city with a little walk - and yes: It was love at first sight! The people are incredibly friendly, the anticipation for The World Games was palpable and the Games are already visible. Be it with posters and flags or graffiti. And our team can look forward to real sports enthusiasm!

What do you expect from The World Games for you and your team?

Aria Siami: Nothing more and nothing less than a superlative sports event! The opening ceremony in a football stadium with more than 40,000 spectators and a sensational music lineup, the great sports venues, all within 30 minutes reach, and the many activities in the city ... all this has made our anticipation and expectations rise rapidly!

What plans do you have to support Team Austria?

Aria Siami: We want to offer the best possible service to our participating federations. Sport Austria will cover all costs for flight and accommodation, and in addition there will be a two-day preparation session, the team presentation and a farewell to the team by the President of Austria before departure to the USA. In Birmingham, Team Austria will be supported by an organizational team, a medical team and a media team. Personally I have the honour to lead our team once again as Chef de Mission. I am already looking forward enormously to this wonderful task.

How will you inform your media about Team Austria in Birmingham?

Aria Siami: We have planned a lot in this regard; we want to make a big step forward in the area of media and visibility. This starts with television and digital platforms, goes through media cooperation in the print sector and, of course, we make use of our own channels. In addition, we will support the international federations at The World Games and develop formats together. Our activation starts with the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in February 2022 and then builds the suspense up to the opening ceremony in Birmingham.

Are you doing more or less, compared to The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw?

Aria Siami: Sport Austria took over the coordination for the participating federations for the first time in 2017 and provided support in the various areas. That was very instructive, and we are now building on this experience and taking our involvement up to the next level. Thanks to the support of the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, we will be able to cover all the costs incurred by Team Austria for the 11th edition of The World Games.

What is the importance of The World Games for you?

Aria Siami: The World Games represent an absolute highlight for those federations that are not or are no longer on the Olympic programme. Anticipation and enthusiasm are enormous. Therefore it is very important for Sport Austria to create the best possible conditions for our national federations with participants at The World Games 2022, and for their athletes.

What criteria do you apply, in order to say in the end that TWG 2022 was a success for us?

Aria Siami: First and foremost, that the athletes arrive in good health and return home safely after the Games. And I hope that the Games will have a positive effect and that we will see excellent sport. The World Games are of immense importance for the participating Austrian federations. As Chef de Mission, I expect our athletes to behave as ambassadors in such a way that their successes and achievements are reported and talked about positively at home. Medals play an important role in this, but we are primarily concerned with the overall picture.

Austria achieved two Gold Medals at The World Games 2017. Have you already set a benchmark for the upcoming Games?

Aria Siami: Even qualifying for The World Games 2022 is a success, because only the best of the best can be there. One thing is clear: we will once again send a strong Team Austria to Birmingham, a good mix of experienced athletes and strong debutants. I don't have a specific medal target, but of course we have certain expectations. After all, we have been successful at all The World Games so far!

 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.

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