World Games: Two years to go to the Opening Ceremony in Wroclaw/Poland (20 July 2017)
IWGA President José Perurena: The framework for TWG 2017 is set!
Exactly two years to go until The World Games 2017 starts. How do you assess what has been achieved?
José Perurena: I can say we are on track. We have set the framework. Now it is up to the Wroclaw Organizers, the federations, and our Association to fill in the details. We want to demonstrate that our sports are on the same level as the Olympic sports. Seven of the eight sports shortlisted for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo belong to The World Games family. It is a matter of fact that The World Games are a stepping-stone to the Olympics. As in that event, we have to deliver the best environment for our sports to be presented at the highest level.
Will you celebrate the “two years to go” milestone?
The Organizers used the final of the Polish American Football Super Bowl on 11 July to promote TWG 2017. With great success, as our Vice President Max Bishop, who attended the event, reported. It was staged at the main Wroclaw stadium where we will celebrate our Opening Ceremony on 20 July 2017. In general, we observe increasing awareness of our event in Wroclaw. A recent poll confirmed this impression. The citizens are getting more and more interested in TWG. But we do not have a special event celebrating this milestone. It is just a date to recognize that we have two more years to pull everything together.
What do you expect from TWG 2017?
José Perurena: Rafal Dutkiewicz, the Mayor of Wrocław, promised to deliver the best games ever. This is something that we expect as well. It is important to meet these expectations in order for The World Games to reach the next level. We are on our way to establishing a rewarding cooperation with the IOC. Our plan is to work together, and to integrate The World Games into the Olympic Movement in order to benefit our athletes and our IFs. In Wroclaw 2017, the IOC will have a strong presence on the ground to monitor our sports. We are very clear that The World Games in 2017 mark a very important milestone for the IWGA and The World Games. IOC President Thomas Bach agreed to this when he met a Polish delegation in Lausanne this June.
What can you say about the status of the preparations?
We agreed on the sports program last year, and designed a daily schedule. It gives each of the 27 official sports, and the four invitational sports, the best possible slots within the daily schedule. We did this in agreement with the federations and the host city. Right now, the federations are starting qualifications. Our member federations have to bring the very best athletes in their sports and disciplines. They have defined their criteria to identify the best of the best. We require superb games in terms of venues and organization too. This is mainly part of the host city’s duties.
How do you rate the level of cooperation with the organizers in Wroclaw?
Jose Perurena: We are cooperating closely with the Wroclaw host city team to reach our goals. During a meeting with IOC President, Dr Thomas Bach, the representatives of the organizing committee emphasized that Poland is a reliable partner which meets its obligations. We see a lot of support from different partners in Poland. The Polish NOC President, Andrzej Kraśnicki, promised the support of the sports community that will participate in TWG 2017. We have learned that the Ministry of Sport and Tourism has launched a special financial program for representatives of disciplines of The World Games. It granted financial support for the building of one venue and the renovation of another.
What are the main tasks now?
Last month we received information that Wroclaw is about to start construction work on two new swimming pools. The citizens of Wroclaw will benefit from the refurbishment of the existing outdoor swimming pool and the building of a brand-new indoor venue. This will be used for Finswimming, Canoe Polo and Life Saving. There are more activities planned that will help to boost the Host City’s sports infrastructure.
We are collecting information on qualifying events, and the names of athletes and teams that will take part in TWG2017. The qualification of the athletes will start this August, with the 2015 Royal World Cup in Muaythai, Bangkok (THA). The whole process will be completed in January 2017.
How would you describe the road map to TWG 2017?
José Perurena: As I said, the framework is set. Now it is time to fill in details. We are convinced that our partners in Wroclaw will present optimal solutions in the different fields such as accommodation, transport, venues and others. One important milestone will be the announcement of the host broadcaster and the production planning for TWG 2017 in the coming September. This is an important requirement for negotiation with broadcasters all over the world.
Speaking in general, we are now on our way to approve the concepts for all the different tasks. 2016 will be the year to implement what has been planned. We expect that all the necessary construction work will be finalized in 2016, too. A second meeting with all the competition managers of our federations participating in the TWG 2017 is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2016. That will be the moment when we prepare ourselves for the final stretch.