World Games

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The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international quadrennial multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organized and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Some of the sports that were on the program of The World Games eventually made it as Olympic sports (such as rhythmic gymnastics, triathlon, trampoline, Badminton, Softball, Rugby in 2016, Powerlifting, Taekwondo) or have been Olympic sports in the past (like tug of war). Participation in past The World Games is included in the evaluation criteria used to select new Olympic sports adopted by the IOC on August 12, 2004.

Competitions at the highest level in a multitude of diverse, popular and spectacular sports make up the mainstay of The World Games. At quadrennial intervals, in the years following the Games of the Olympiad, the world’s best athletes in these sports unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. As the pinnacle in the competition calendar and as a highly visible stage for top athletes to perform on, The World Games generate worldwide exposure for the participating sports and athletes alike. Above all, The World Games provide the unique setting for thousands of athletes from different sports and countries to join in a celebration of unity and friendship across all boundaries. The World Games are the MAIN EVENT for all these athletes – one marked by sporting exploits as well as by camaraderie.


The World Games, IWGA, IOC & More ...

The World Games are held under the auspices of the International World Games Association (IWGA). It is made up of 32 International Sports Federations governing all those sports and disciplines of sports which are eligible for participation in the Official Sports Program. The organization of The World Games is entrusted by the IWGA to an Organizing Committee formed by the host city and entities such as the National Olympic Committee, the regional government, etc.

The World Games are staged over a period of 11 days. They start with the Opening Ceremony and conclude with the Closing Ceremony.

The conduct of ceremonies and contests is subject to the 'Rules of The World Games' and IF’s, the IWGA directives for the organizing and the staging of the event.

While the International Olympic Committee grants its patronage to all editions of The World Games, and while the IWGA explicitly accepts and adheres to all principles of the Olympic Charter, the multi-sport games differ in two important aspects. The host is never required to build facilities or extend upon available infrastructure for the sake of The World Games alone. Ideally, the event is to be staged at existing venues, in appropriately sized facilities, which have been planned or built regardless of the candidate host bidding for the World Games. This condition influences the composition of The World Games program. Furthermore, participating athletes are representatives of their sport and are selected by the relevant International Federation. The IFs have a qualification system that ensures that the best athletes participate.

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