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Trying to Re-Enter Arena, World Combat Games Fighting to Survive

4 May, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
By Solidifying Mission, Including Only Non-Olympic Sports, Event Seeking to Remain Relevant

The most fierce conflict in the World Combat Games may be its fight to survive.

The Games, an international multi-sport festival featuring combat sports and martial arts, have lost direction, thanks (or no thanks) to political infighting. And while current plans are for the event to be resurrected in 2018, whether this will come together is anyone’s guess.

According to an article in Inside The Games, the event, which might optimistically be described as being in a transitional stage, is seeking a way to reinvent itself and remain relevant.

First held in 2010 in Beijing, the SportAccord-organized Games consisted of six Olympic and 10 non-Olympic sports, with a second edition held in St Petersburg and a third awarded to Lima for 2017.

Following an incident last year in which former SportAccord head Marius Vizer provided no-holds-barred criticism of the IOC and its President Thomas Bach, Lima withdrew its hosting rights and several NGBs, including boxing, taekwondo, wrestling, taekwondo and fencing announced they were withdrawing from the event.

That left the World Combat Games battling infighting. A meeting of all the federations to be represented at the Games was held in April; however, it was agreed that the governance and philosophy of the Games need to be straightened out before any event can be planned. (A few nations indicated an interest in hosting the Games if (a) political differences could be ironed out, and (b) if this could be accomplished by 2018 or 2022.Most likely, the next iteration of the Games will be held in Kazakhstan.)

The disciplines of the Games include aikido, boxing, fencing, judo, ju-jitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, Muay Thai, sambo, savate, sumo, taekwondo, wrestling and wushu. Of these, some are currently Olympic disciplines, including boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo and wrestling.

One suggestion for a revamped Games was to feature only non-Olympic disciplines. Mixed team events could be launched, as well as alternative disciplines like belt wrestling and poomsae taekwondo.

In the meantime, the website for the World Combat Games only reads “Coming Soon.”

Now, however, with SportAccord having elected a new president (Switzerland’s Patrick Baumann), the World Combat Games might have a fighting chance.

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