Bart is Back
The Olympic champion Bart Swings (31) will be competing in Birmingham, USA. The skater from Belgium has recently won a gold medal at the 2022 Olympic Games in Bejing, China in the speed skating mass start. It was the first gold medal at a Winter Olympic Games in 74 years for Belgium.
Also in February, World Skate nominated Bart Swings to compete in The World Games 2022, taking place from 7 to 17 July in Birmingham, Alabama. The Belgian has the qualification for starts in the race over 10,000 metres (elimination and point elimination). This offers him the chance to become one of the top ten most successful athletes ever at The World Games. At his starts in Cali, Colombia, and Wroclaw, Poland, Bart Swings won a total of four gold as well as two silver medals, plus one bronze medal.
There is another multi-medalist who will be striving for gold at the Games this summer: in Billiards, three-cushion professional Daniel Sanchez (ESP) has his sights on listening to his national anthem for the fourth time, following his victories at TWG in Akita, JPN (2001), Duisburg, GER (2005) and Wroclaw, POL. The 47-year-old Daniel Sanchez holds third place in the world ranking behind Dick Jaspers (NED) and Marco Zanetti (ITA), and has thus secured his starting place for the tournament in Birmingham.
Dick Jaspers (56) in his sixth Games
When it comes to the title of "oldest athlete at The World Games", the Dutchman Dick Jaspers currently has the best chance. The World Games Champion from 2009 (Kaohsiung, TPE) is 56 years old. In Birmingham, Jaspers will be competing at The World Games for the sixth time. He made his debut in 2001 in Akita, when he won silver.
World Skate and the World Confederation of Billiard Sports are two of a total of eight IWGA Member Federations that have made entries in the qualifications database in February. These have also included Ju-Jitsu, Life Saving, Sport Climbing, Sumo, Underwater Sports and Waterski/Wakeboarding. In total, more than 2,600 of the 3,600 entry places have been allocated. There are 808 entries by name (553 as of January 2022) and 1,823 quota places (Jan. 2022: 1500). As of 25 February, the database lists athletes from 93 nations. The hosts from Birmingham expect participants from more than 100 countries.
Among the countries that will have been looking forward to the opening ceremony on 7 July at the Protective Stadium in Birmingham since February, there are two debutants: Mauritius and Ethiopia will be making their first appearance at The World Games. Marie Chandrine Perrine will compete for Mauritius in the 63 kilo weight class in Ju-Jitsu. Negash Meskerem from Ethiopia is also competing in Ju-Jitsu.
Reunion of the Gold Medalists
What stands out is that in Birmingham there will be a reunion of the Champions, especially in Ju-Jitsu. In six of the twelve weight classes, the reigning champions have a chance to defend their titles. In Sport Climbing, Yoshiyuki Ogata, 2017 winner in Boulder, hopes to defend his title. Three gold medallists from 2017 will be competing again in Waterskiing/Wakeboarding: Shota Tezuka from Japan, Joshua Briant from Australia and Adam Sedlmajer from the Czech Republic.
Two double winners of the 10th edition almost five years ago will compete again in Finswimming: Russia's Dimitri Zhurman and Hungary's Petra Senanszky have qualified again. Korean Ye Sol Jang wants to defend her gold medal from Wroclaw. Three 2017 winners are competing again in Life Saving as things stand in February: Double The World Games champion Silvia Meschiari from Italy, Justine Weyders from France and Danny Wieck from Germany.
Next month, entries will come in for Karate, Duathlon, Muaythai and Ju-Jitsu. Parkour, a Gymnastics discipline, will make its debut at The World Games. Quite fittingly, the qualifiers will be determined at the first FIG World Championship in Parkour, from 25 to 27 March in Hiroshima, Japan.
Qualifications for The World Games are conducted by the International Federations. One of the criteria is that only the best athletes or teams in a sport or discipline can compete at the Games.
All qualified athletes and countries can be found on The World Games website.
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.