Birmingham, Alabama, chosen as host of World Games in 2021

Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:35am EST
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(Reuters) - The World Games, an event held every four years that showcases more than 35 sports not on the Olympic program, will be hosted in 2021 by Birmingham, Alabama, the International World Games Association announced Thursday.

Birmingham, chosen over Lima and Ufa, Russia, is the first U.S. city to host the event since 1981 when Santa Clara, California, held the inaugural games.

"All the bids we received were of very high quality and it was not easy for us to reach a decision," said IWGA President José Perurena.

"We have to deliver nothing less than outstanding World Games. We are convinced that Birmingham will exceed these expectations."

Among the sports featured during the 11-day event, staged under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, are lacrosse, bowling and tug of war.

In 2013, the World Games in Cali, Columbia, drew some 500,000 spectators. The next World Games, in 2017, will be in Wroclaw, Poland.

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott)