IWGA seek ‘urgent’ resolution for World Games after Olympics postponement

The International World Games Association (IWGA) has said it is working “very urgently” on a change of dates for its 2021 World Games in the US city of Birmingham, while the International University Sports Federation (Fisu) has again tweaked dates for its 2021 summer World University Games in Chengdu, China.

The announcements come following yesterday’s (Monday’s) rescheduling of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to run from July 23 to August 8, 2021. Birmingham, Alabama won the race to host the 2021 edition of the World Games multi-sport event back in January 2015, defeating rival bids from Peruvian capital Lima and Ufa in Russia.

The new dates for the Olympic Games clash partly with those of the World Games 2021, which were scheduled to be held from July 15-25. In a statement today (Tuesday), the IWGA said it will now urgently review alternative options, and coordinate all actions with the various stakeholders to ensure the success of the Games.

In anticipation of this decision, the IWGA said it has already been in close contact with the International Olympic Committee, patrons of its event, adding that the IOC has pledged to help the World Games overcome the major challenges created by the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 due to Covid-19.

The IWGA said it is currently assessing whether to adopt similar dates in 2022 or move to slightly earlier dates in 2021. IWGA chief executive, Joachim Gossow, added: “In these critical times, effective communication with the member federations is of key importance.

“Our goal is to find the best solution for all involved, and especially for the athletes. We need to take into account all aspects of the qualification process, event preparation and execution. It is a big challenge, but with effective collective and individual communications with each federation in the coming weeks, we are confident that we can achieve success.”

Meanwhile, Chengdu, which will also host the 2025 World Games, has seen the dates for its 2021 summer World University Games altered slightly. Following a request from the local organising committee of the flagship student-athlete summer multi-sports event, Fisu approved a change of dates to August 18-29.

Chengdu 2021 had been scheduled to start two days earlier, running from August 16-27, with the original dates being August 8-19. Fisu said maintaining a summer 2021 timing for Chengdu 2021 will ensure student athletes face no eligibility challenges, while also enabling National University Student Federations to maintain their operational and financial plans for the World University Games.

“The revision will even allow for one of the key ceremonies to fall on a weekend,” Fisu secretary general-chief executive Eric Saintrond said. “In addition to the university athletes who will feature in Tokyo 2020, I’m sure there are many others who will be looking forward to testing themselves against recent Olympians. The calendaring of Chengdu 2021 is already being well received by major television broadcasters looking to extend the narrative of exceptional performances in summer sports with additional top-level content.”

The 31st summer World University Games, formerly known as the Universiade, are expected to draw over 10,000 student-athletes and officials from more than 150 countries. The event comprises 269 medal events across 18 sports disciplines and includes the three optional sports of rowing, shooting sport and Wushu.