Expectations couldn't be higher: "The Word Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama will be the best ever." This was said by IWGA President José Perurena during the meetings with the Competition Managers as well as those with the representatives of the National Olympic Committees (NOC) and the National Sports Organisations (NSO).
Each of the two-day meetings took place in the host city of the 11th edition of The World Games. The motto of Birmingham with regard to the Games is: “The World is coming.” Indeed, from 7- 17 July 2022 there will be 3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries coming to the state's largest city. 34 sports and a total of 223 medal events are on the schedule for the ten competition days.
During a reception for the Competition Managers, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin described his similarly high expectations for The World Games in his city: "We are looking forward to an outstanding and unique experience for the people here in Birmingham. And we look forward to presenting ourselves as a welcoming and forward-thinking city." Mayor Woodfin pledged the city's unconditional support. He said they want to be part of the team that makes The World Games 2022 the best ever.
Nick Sellers, CEO of the Birmingham Organising Committee (BOC), emphasized: "The TWG will be the first multi-sport event with spectators in the stands since the start of the pandemic in 2020.” The fans, he said, should be given a Once-in-a-Lifetime experience.
The meeting with the Competition Managers and the NOCs heralded the ‘hot phase’ of preparation. “The support of International Federations and the national organisations gives the necessary tail-wind,” said Nick Sellers.
BOC Vice-President Jay Kasten conducted the sessions as MC. The experts of the IWGA and the BOC responsible for the different areas, from sport via accommodation to media, gave information about the state of preparation. ISB as host broadcaster, Swiss Timing as timekeepers, Sportfive as hospitality agent, SWORD for venue planning, and FICS working with its chiropractors at the venues presented their planned contributions to the success of the Games.
Director of Ceremonies Rashada LeRoy gave an impression of what people all over the world can expect when The World Games Opening Ceremony starts on the 7 July at the brand-new Protective Stadium. 40,000 spectators are expected to be present to celebrate that the world is coming to town.
IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow once again defined the different roles: the Competition Managers for each sport are responsible for running their respective competitions at the highest level. It is up to the representatives of the NOC or NSO to look after the athletes of their country in the best possible way. It is also their responsibility to ensure that participants receive the attention back home that they deserve for their successes at the Games.
The BOC and the IWGA each organised the session as hybrid events. Around 30 Competition Managers from the International Federations were present in Birmingham and used the stay for on-site visits to their venues. 14 Federations took the opportunity to participate in the meeting via a Zoom webinar. Representatives from around 15 countries attended both days reserved for NOC and NSO. 21 national organisations used the webinar format to get in shape for “the best-ever edition of The World Games”.
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.