World Combat Games 2023 chapter in Riyadh


Saudia Arabia to host World Combat Games 2023 Image: WCG

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) announced on May 28th that the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, has been awarded the 2023 chapter of the World Combat Games (WCG), an international multisport event featuring 15 combat sports and martial arts which are Members of GAISF.

A news release issued in this regard by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) stated that the WCG is an incredible celebration of combat sports and martial arts, showcasing the world’s best athletes and driving global exposure for these sports and the host City. Powered by GAISF, the WCG strives to establish bridges between elite sport and local communities through inspiring initiatives encouraging youth participation in combat sports and martial arts.

Lausanne (Switzerland)-based Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) is the umbrella organization for all international sports federations as well as organizers of multisports games and sport-related international associations. It changed its name to SportAccord from March 2009 to April 2017 when it reverted to its former name.

The GAISF news release quoted His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal Al-Saud, Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) President, as stating, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking forward to welcoming athletes from all parts of the world to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is very much aligned with the Olympic Values and this event is within the country’s vision for 2030 to promote a vibrant society with a diverse and thriving economy. Saudi Arabia has the infrastructure and will use this event to strengthen the martial arts community in Saudi Arabia and use these multisport games as one of the first major events toward the Asian Games 2034.”

GAISF and SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli remarked, “The World Combat Games is much more than a sporting event powered by GAISF. It is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between GAISF and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The WCG represents sports as much from the Non-Olympic, as from the Olympic family. The next steps will be to finalize the sport program with the International Sports Federations and obtaining the final approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

Chairman of the GAISF MultiSport Games and GAISF Vice-President, Stephan Fox, who is also a former martial arts world champion, asserted, “Saudi Arabia is an ideal choice for this post-pandemic event showcasing an exchange of culture from around the world and is the perfect bridge between elite sport and local communities. The bid presented by Saudi is robust and inspiring. The vision for this event will bring a festival celebratory atmosphere. There will be workshops by leading martial art masters, educational conferences and the first World Martial Arts Gala, honoring the legends of martial arts and combat sports.”

The GAISF release concluded by stating that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during a special ceremony at the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee’s (SAOC) General Assembly, which included all recognized martial arts and combat sport national federations.

‘inside the games’ stated that the Games are expected to feature 15 sports, with GAISF claiming the multisport event will boost the exposure of the disciplines and the host City.

The World Combat Games were last held in Saint Petersburg in Russia back in 2013.

‘inside the games’ further stated that plans for the 2019 event in Taiwan were halted as the format was adjusted, before a revamped Games was awarded to Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan in May 2019.

The event was initially scheduled to take place from May 3rd to 9th in 2021, but GAISF suggested last year the Games could be pushed into 2022.

The World Combat Games is the latest major event secured by Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh was named host of the 2034 Asian Games in December, as part of a double award which saw Qatar’s capital Doha securing the rights to the 2030 event.

Saudi Arabia has also secured rights to major boxing fights, Formula One racing and golf competitions in recent years.

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