(Reuters) - The 2021 World Games have been pushed back by a year to avoid clashing with the Tokyo Olympics which were rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, World Games organisers said on Thursday.
The World Games, which are held every four years and feature 32 sports that are not part of the Olympic program, were scheduled to take place in Birmingham, Alabama, from July 15–25 next year but have now been postponed to July 7-17, 2022.
Organisers said that the decision to move the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 made a significant impact on the planning of the World Games and sticking to the original dates would have meant excluding many Olympic athletes and officials.
“A great deal of detailed work is now required to implement this decision, but I am impressed by the flexibility and efficiency of the Birmingham Organising Committee,” International World Games Association (IWGA) President Jose Perurena said.
The international event was set to host 3,600 athletes from over 100 countries to take part in a variety of sports such as martial arts, bowling, squash, billiards and even wheelchair rugby.
“All organisational main pillars such as venues and accommodation are in place for 2022, and we are able to have exactly the same sports program as we had planned for 2021,” IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow added.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis