Ticket share for the sport in Ukraine
A little more than 100 days before the start of The World Games 2022, a delegation from the International World Games Association (IWGA) met with the Organizing Committee (BOC) of the host city Birmingham, USA. On the agenda of the meeting of the Coordination Commission (CoCom) were final arrangements for the preparation of the Games, to be held from 7 to 17 July in the state of Alabama.
The focus was also on the impact of the war in Ukraine. IWGA President José Perurena and his counterpart Jonathan Porter, Chairman of the Board of Directors in the BOC, gave assurances that everything would be done to enable as many athletes from Ukraine as possible to represent their country at the 11th edition of The World Games. They were supported by Randall Woodfin, Mayor of the City of Birmingham. 103 athletes from the Eastern European country have currently qualified for the Games. At the beginning of the war, the IWGA excluded athletes from Russia and Belarus from participating in The World Games, this decision being in line with the recommendation of the International Olympic Committee.
Nick Sellers: Athletes want to represent their country
José Perurena explained during the meeting that the IWGA is in contact with the Sports Committee of Ukraine: "We know that the athletes from Ukraine are very interested in competing at The World Games, despite the current terrible situation in their homeland." Nick Sellers, CEO of the Birmingham Organizing Committee, was able to give a concrete example: "Stanislav Horuna was captain of Ukraine's national Karate team and preparing to compete in TWG 2022. Now Horuna is patrolling the streets of his hometown Lviv as a soldier, but says he is still planning to compete in Birmingham.”
Horuna told Polish newspaper “Fakt”: "I have qualified for those Games, so I have the opportunity to participate in this great competition.” When asked if he will still be able to compete, Horuna replied: "Yes, I do believe it." The interview was picked up by “Around the Rings”.
Donation to rebuild bombed venues in Ukraine
José Perurena said: "We now want to make it possible for Stanislav and his team-mates to travel and be striving for Gold in Birmingham. In addition, the BOC has agreed to approach the relevant authorities in obtaining the necessary visas, in the interest of the athletes." Mr Perurena proposed during the meeting that the hosts provide a share of the ticket revenue to support athletes in Ukraine. "I am happy to have received great support for this idea. This is also about using the money to rebuild the bombed sports venues after the war, which hopefully will end soon.” Another aim is to enable athletes to travel to the USA early to train and prepare for the Games. There are also plans to allocate a share of the merchandising revenue for this purpose. IWGA President Perurena announced that CEO Joachim Gossow will contact IOC Director of Solidarity, James Macleod, to coordinate these activities with the IOC.
Mayor Woodfin: Athletes from 106 countries experience Southern hospitality
José Perurena, like his counterpart Jonathan Porter, also could see that the preparations for The World Games are on track. Perurena: "In a personal conversation with me, Randall Woodfin, Mayor of the City of Birmingham, assured me once again: His city has the greatest interest in hosting an outstanding event, and he will do everything possible to meet this goal.”
The importance of The World Games for world sport is underlined by the commitment of IOC President Thomas Bach to attend the opening ceremony on 7 July. During his welcoming remarks at the start of the CoCom, Mayor Woodfin said his city was honoured to welcome the IOC President and to give a taste of Southern hospitality, which all 3,600 athletes will experience when the world comes to Birmingham. The World Games are indeed world games: already, participants from 106 nations and from all five continents have qualified for competitions.
José Perurena: Tail-wind on the final stretch
José Perurena summed up the meeting in Birmingham positively: "It was a thoroughly harmonious exchange. Of course we face challenges at this stage, as always. However, in preparation of the CoCom day we had agreed on an exchange between the experts in the BOC and from our side. In this process, we were able to solve almost all problems, and can now go into the home stretch with a good tail-wind.
Participating in the Cocom meeting for the IWGA were: President José Perurena, Treasurer Lukas Hinder and Board member Jan Fransoo, along with CEO Joachim Gossow and General Manager Chantal Boehi. The BOC was represented by Jonathan Porter, Chairman of the Board of Directors, CEO Nick Sellers, Governor Joe Knight, Senior Advisor of Mayor’s Office Ed Fields, Board of Directors Representatives, and the Heads of Departments within the local Organizing Committee.
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.