Thank you, Co!

Thank you, Co!

It is with great sadness that the International World Games Association has to announce that its former Secretary General Co Koren has passed away. The Honorary Life President of the International Tug of War Federation died last Saturday at the age of 80 after a short serious illness. IWGA President José Perurena paid tribute to the deceased in a letter to the family: "We are not only losing a friend, we are losing a family member. It is no exaggeration to say that Co Koren was one of the godfathers when the IWGA was founded. He was with us from the beginning and has actively supported us ever since. We are deeply grieved by his loss."

José Perurena further described the contribution of Co Koren to the development of the Games: "The oldest picture in our archives shows a lunch meeting during the 1980 GAISF Congress in Monaco. The participants at this meeting were the women and men who planned our first edition in 1981 in Santa Clara, USA. One of the people in this picture is Co Koren.

Lunch meeting during the 1980 GAIFS Congress in Monaco
Lunch meeting during the 1980 GAISF Congress in Monaco

This year our CEO Joachim Gossow took another photo. 300 boxes of archival material from the history of the IWGA were picked up from Koren’s home in Hoensbroek in the Netherlands and brought to our headquarters in Lausanne. And of course, Co Koren is also in this photo. Perhaps this is the best way to describe how close and how lasting his connection with the IWGA was."

Archival material from Koren’s home was brought to the IWGA headquarters in Lausanne

Dedicated to Tug-of-War as an active athlete, he has been in contact with The World Games since the first edition of The World Games in Santa Clara in 1981. At that time, he was still an official of the Tug-of-War International Federation. In 1983 he joined the IWGA Executive Committee. Since 1989 he had been the IWGA Secretary General. After leaving office in 2010, Co Koren continued to actively support the IWGA. Among other things, he established a system for evaluating the respective editions of The World Games. Furthermore, he reorganised all the materials in his archives that he collected about the IWGA and The World Games. He made these historical documents available to the IWGA. Several hundred pictures and videos to be found in the IWGA archive ware contributed by Co Koren. The one from 1980 is just one of them.

José Perurena says further about Co Koren: "He has always shown a passion for The World Games. He has served the IWGA for so many years and decades and has always been loyal and dedicated even in difficult times. We have benefited immensely from his experience and knowledge. He has always been an important advisor to us even after he left office. It was easy to ask him for advice, for he had positive spirit, and his idea was just to serve to make our event shine."

IWGA’s Honorary Life President, Ron Froehlich takes sadly the knowledge of the passing of his long-time colleague: “My association with Co as the Secretary General of The World Games was spread over many years. He will be sorely missed, and our prayers go out to the family. RIP Co!“

Some years ago, Co Koren summed up his contribution to The World Games with humility: "I had my share." José Perurena adds: "He had a very big share. We are grateful for this. We will always cherish his memory."

The World Games family's thoughts are with his wife Marleen, his daughter Megin, her family and grandchildren. All his love was for them. Their love has been for him.

 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 World Games 2022 was held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries took part in the Games. The 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, CHN, 7-17 August 2025.