The international multi-sport festival featuring combat sports and martial arts, held in 2010 and 2013 but not in 2016, fell victim to political infighting and was shelved in 2018— effectively canceling the previously scheduled 2019 Games.
But in May, the Global Association of International Sports Federations announced that the World Combat Games will return in 2021 and be hosted by Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan, from May 3-9. The news came on the final day of Australia’s SportAccord world sport and business summit in Gold Coast, Australia.
“Creating a platform for our members to showcase their disciplines through multi-sport games is one of GAISF’s main priorities,” newly-inaugurated president Raffaele Chiulli said during the announcement. “We are excited to be working with the team from Nur-Sultan and the launch of the World Combat Games.”
According to TheAstana Times, a Kazakhstan newspaper, Nur-Sultan’s Martial Arts Palace, the Alau Ice Palace and the national velodrome will serve as the main competition venues. Designed for major international competitions, the Martial Arts Palace is in the final stages of construction and is expected open this summer. And next year, the paper reports, organizers will launch the World Combat Games Festival, incorporating Kazakhstan’s 14 regions in a country-wide celebration.
Chinese Tapei was tapped to host the 2019 World Combat Games before they were canceled last year amid reorganizational efforts. Going forward, plans call for the event to be held every four years. The last edition of the World Combat Games took place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013. For a look back at the event’s perilous past, click here.
As of May 31, the website for the World Combat Games features only a landing page with the message “Coming soon…” which, unfortunately, is the same message they’ve been displaying for several years now.