The design of the sports programme for The World Games is a matter of both space and time. In preparation for the Competition Managers Meeting on 3 and 4 October, the IWGA is currently working on a first draft of the timetable for The World Games 2021 (15- 25 July) in Birmingham, Alabama. Thirty official sports plus four invitational sports are on the programme for the 11th edition of The World Games.
The organising committee of the host city will present its proposals for suitable sports facilities to representatives of the international federations at the meeting in Birmingham. IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow will present a preliminary structure for the ten days of competition at the multi-sport event.
"We are looking forward to the reactions of the federations,” says Joachim Gossow. “At the same time, we know that the Competition Managers know that we are trying to present every sport in the best way possible. The first timetable is not set in stone, but from the past I can say that it works as a reliable framework."
The planning therefore requires a high degree of care, and represents an enormous challenge. Joachim Gossow describes some of the aspects that need to be considered: "Firstly, it's about putting together a programme that's as attractive as possible for the spectators on site. It makes sense to make sure that competitions at neighbouring venues do not take spectators away from each other. At the same time, we want to make it possible for the sports fans to experience as many competitions as possible on the shortest possible routes."
But there is even more to be considered: the availability of competition venues has to be kept in mind. "If a hall is needed for two types of sport, one after the other, then a break for setting up the new competition layout must be considered," explains the CEO. Training days, the duration of a tournament and possible bad competition weather, for example for the disciplines in the Air Sports, must also be taken into account.
And there are yet more pieces of the puzzle: "We also have to regard the wishes of the possible TV partners, and coordinate with our marketing partner in advance. The host broadcaster also has wishes. They want to use their production equipment such as cameras or OB vans as efficiently as possible."
In preparation for the first draft, The World Games officials met with experts from ISB in Madrid at the beginning of September; ISB was also jointly responsible for the production of The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw. The Olympic Channel, which will enable worldwide distribution of the The World Games 2021 signal, was involved in these talks as were experts from Swiss Timing, the official timekeeper of The World Games.
Joachim Gossow continues: "Of course, we don't make any decisions without closely coordinating them with the local organisers. This has to do with the fact that we have to bring space and time together. It's also about the experiences of which sports are particularly popular in the USA and which days these competitions can best be placed on."
A look back at The World Games 2017 makes the task of creating a schedule once again clear: 219 medal events were on the agenda. The day with the most award ceremonies was the first Sunday, with 36 decisions. The day after, only 16 gold medals were awarded. On the last day of competition there were 22 decisions on the programme within a tight schedule. The last national anthem was played at 5:30 p.m. for a gold medalist in Billiards. This was shortly before the beginning of the closing ceremony. When creating a timetable you have to make sure that even the last medallist can make it to the farewell party. From the Millennium Hall, the venue for Billiards, to the square in front of the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw it took Kyren Wilsen from Great Britain 15 minutes to celebrate with his team-mates his Gold medal and of course their great days at The World Games.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.