(ATR) The umbrella body for global sports federations has downsized the inaugural World Urban Games set to take place in Budapest in September.
Initially destined for Los Angeles and slated as a five-day competition featuring 700 of the world’s best athletes in nine urban disciplines and sports, GAISF has redrawn its vision after moving the event to Budapest last month.
GAISF confirmed Monday that the World Urban Games will be held over just three days – Sept. 13-15 – and include only six competition sports and two showcase sports.
The Budapest edition’s sports program announced today will include 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle park, breaking, freestyle flying disc, parkour and freestyle roller skate. Laser run and indoor rowing will feature as showcase sports.
Sports absent from the World Urban Games in the Hungarian capital but which were on the Los Angeles roster include bouldering and street skateboarding. Four other urban sports disciplines would have been demonstration sports, with an esports program and a festival of music, arts, digital entertainment and cultural activities bolted on.
GAISF made no mention of downsizing the first edition but said the varied sports program was a reflection of its vision for the Games. Budapest will augment its sports program with demonstrations of music, dance and urban culture.
"The World Urban Games program for Budapest 2019 presents a global stage for emerging disciplines, as well as an opportunity for world-class athletes to demonstrate their abilities and for people in urban areas to take a proactive role in sport," said GAISF president Raffaele Chiulli.
"I have no doubt that the Hungarian capital will be the perfect arena."
"GAISF is working closely with the Local Organizing Committee and with our International Federations to ensure that the World Urban Games Budapest 2019 will be an incredible event that inspires a new generation of fans."
Breaking and parkour were flagged by GAISF as two major highlights of the Budapest sports program in its release issued Monday.
IOC president Thomas Bach praised breaking’s appeal to the younger generation at a press conference in Lausanne last week. "You feel the personality of the athletes. It’s not just an exercise, it’s expressing yourself and makes the performance very authentic and interesting," he said.
Breaking is also a new sport for the Paris 2024 Olympics, along with sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding.
In a statement, World DanceSport Federation President Shawn Tay said breaking was a spectacular, energetic, fresh and entertaining sport which "has the power to inspire youth".
"We are sure that breaking will find its space and fit well into the spirit of the World Urban Games. Breaking represents a true urban sport; it is part of a new trend, and has the possibility to engage the community through social, cultural and educational activities."
International Gymnastics Federation president Morinari Watanabe expressed his delight at parkour’s inclusion on the World Urban Games program.
"As gymnastics is a foundation sport, parkour helps to cultivate essential physical and mental skills. This sporting discipline is very appealing, especially for kids, who can learn how to overcome obstacles and by doing so, get the feeling to be strong," he said.
With less than five months to go until the World Urban Games, the GAISF organizing team are progressing plans for the event at an orientation seminar in Budapest this week. Next steps in preparations include plotting the major milestones in the lead up to the Games.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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