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  • The International World Games Association Sets Tone For The Future


    The International World Games Association's (IWGA) Annual General Meeting looked a lot different this year than in years past. Instead of meeting in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, the IWGA met virtually on Friday November 6th to discuss a variety of topics concerning the future of the IWGA, and their International Federations (IFs).


    The biggest change was seen in the athlete quota cap being raised from 4,200 to 5,000 athletes. This is no doubt a move by the IWGA to include more sports and events into their programme. Earlier this summer, the IWGA suffered some blowback from athletes and the public after they released their competition programme for Birmingham 2022. Several traditional sports such as Men's Boules and Trampoline were left off the programme, and other sports saw their male quotas cut. By expanding the total overall quota it is the hope for the World Games to expand the games with new sports, and new events; such as the possibility of adding para sports at the World Games, with Wheelchair Rugby set to feature in Birmingham next summer. 


    The invitational sports programme is also set to undergo some changes. Currently, the Local Organizing Committe can select up to five sports of their choosing to be "invitational sports" at their games. The invitational sports do count towards the medal count, but it is a great way to attract spectators and make money by bringing in sports that the local population is familiar with.


    At the last World Games in 2017, the Wroclaw Organizing Committee selected American Football, Indoor Rowing, Kickboxing, and Speedway. American Football and Speedway dominated the ticket sales and Kickboxing is now on the official programme. 


    According to the IWGA, this new system will be "more flexible" and will most likely consist of a dozen sports that a host city can select from, or these sports will be on a rotating basis. 


    The IWGA also set new protocols for full time members. According to sources, only IFs that are members of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARIDF) can become new fulltime members, with current IWGA members already being grandfathered in. This new rule opens up the door for sports such as American Football and Cricket to gain full membership with the IWGA. However, IF's that are not members of the IWGA or ARIDF can still vie for spots on the reformed invitational programme. 


    The idea of multi-sport games continues to change, and the IWGA continues to change with it. However, their older brother, the IOC, continues to dwell in the past. The sports played at the World Games are modern and exciting as several sports have already "graduated" to the Olympic programme such as: karate, softball, sport climbing, and breaking. Also, the IWGA continues to insist that their host cities do not build new facilities for the games. This is something that the IOC continues to struggle with, and has led to a reduction of viable host cities, along with clashes with tax paying citizens of potential host cities. 


    With the dates, programme, and athlete quota already set for Birmingham 2022, these new changes are expected to be first seen at Chengdu 2025.



    John Foyne

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