José Perurena: Celebrating 10 years at the head of The World Games

José Perurena: Celebrating 10 years at the head of The World Games

Last week marked exactly a decade since President José Perurena took over at the helm of the International World Games Association (IWGA). 

Ten years ago, on 7 April 2014, José Perurena, a former Spanish competitor in Canoe Sprint, was elected to the IWGA Presidency during the SportAccord Convention in Belek (TUR).  

Following a four-year mandate serving on the IWGA Executive Committee from 2010 to 2014, he was elected as President of the IWGA in 2014, re-elected in 2018 for another four-year term, and then again with an overwhelming majority of 93% in May 2023 in Madrid (ESP).  

Perurena, who has dedicated his life to sport, saw his IOC Membership extended in 2015 after exceeding the age limit of 70 years, due to his role as President of the IWGA. He was also the International Canoe Federation President until 2021, when he stood aside to concentrate on his role as IWGA President.  

In his position as an IWGA Executive Committee Member, Perurena attended his first edition of The World Games 2013 in Cali, Colombia. The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA were the second Games of Perurena’s presidency after Wrocław, Poland in 2017. 

The past decade has been marked by numerous major milestones led by his vision for The World Games. In management terms, the Spaniard has built an unprecedented legacy both for the IWGA and the flagship event. He has sought to be a transformative president, and significant changes have been made under his leadership in the effort to further develop and grow The World Games.  

“My goal has been, is and will be to establish the best possible environment for all of IWGA's integrated sports," he says. 

During his presidency the IWGA Headquarters has moved from the United States to Lausanne, Switzerland, and the professional team has grown significantly. Also, a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the IOC was signed in 2016, strengthening ties with the organisation.  

In more recent years, the IWGA has established an Athletes’ Committee, in order to engage the athletes even more in the development of The World Games. The cooperation between the IWGA and the National Olympic Committees and National Sports Organisations has been intensified and the IOC has reiterated its full support for The World Games. The programme in the years in between the Games is developing with The World Games series, a ‘mini edition’ of The World Games with competitions in four to six sports in four to five days - an appetizer that shortens the waiting time for the fans on the road to the next Games and gives the athletes more global attention and promotion on media between the editions of The World Games. 

On the day of the anniversary, President Perurena commented: “I am deeply honoured that our members have placed their trust in me over so many years. There is no job I want to do more. I am sparing no effort to make the IWGA and The World Games grow, and I am extremely proud of all the achievements the team and I have completed in the past decade. We have developed a successful and inclusive platform to showcase non-Olympic disciplines. The World Games play a centre role in the promotion of our 38 International Member Federations and their sports.” 

Perurena’s Presidency hasn’t been easy, and there has been a series of unprecedented challenges, including a global pandemic which impacted the entire international sport movement and moved the 11th edition of The World Games from 2021 to 2022. The World Games 2022 was the first multi-sport event with live audience after the pandemic, hence called “the Comeback Games” by President Perurena.  

As per the Constitution, Perurena is nearing the final stretch of his tenure, which is due to end in 2026. Before that, he will witness the 12th edition of The World Games in 2025 in Chengdu, China, when The World Games returns to Asia for the first time since 2009. José Perurena said: “Preparations for The World Games 2025 are going in the right direction in all aspects. We are looking forward to attending The Games next summer and I am convinced, after my fourth visit to Chengdu, that our Chinese partners will deliver yet another remarkable sports event for all the stakeholders.” 

The International World Games Association (IWGA) is a non-profit-making international sports organisation recognised and supported by the International Olympic Committee. The IWGA comprises 38 International Member Sports Federations. It administers and promotes The World Games (TWG), a multi-sport event held every four years that features around 35 sports on its programme. The next edition of TWG will be in Chengdu (CHN) from 7-17 August 2025. 5,000 participants from more than 100 countries are expected to take part in this 12th edition. The latest Games were hosted by Birmingham, Alabama (USA).

For more information, please contact the IWGA Media and Communication team: [email protected], Tel: +41 21 311 12 97, or visit our website.