World Games Face Postponement, Perurena Recovers

(ATR) World Games president surviving corona, considers options for 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama.

(ATR) The 2021 World Games are certain to face postponement as dates now conflict with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

Scheduled for Birmingham, Alabama, the World Games are part of the domino effect created by the change in plans for the 2020 Olympic Games forced by the corona virus pandemic.

International World Games Association President José Perurena tells Around the Rings the event with some 4,000 athletes will take place.

"The possibility that the World Games will be canceled is zero," he said shortly after returning home in Madrid from several days of hospitalization for treatment from the corona illness.

He was in serious condition, and although he required an artificial respirator, he says his response to medications made the difference.

"If I hadn't gone to the doctor thinking it was a common flu, now I wouldn't be talking to you," says Perurena.

In this recovery process, doctors have recommended absolute rest, so he will not participate in the videoconference this Thursday, April 2 with more than 30 international federations to determine the fate of the World Games.

The new dates of the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to August 8, 2021, partially collide with those of the World Games, to be held from July 15 to 25, 2021.

Alternative options are urgently being reviewed by the IWGA. The IWGA Executive Committee and Birmingham 2021 Organizing Committee CEO Nick Sellers have already been discussing the unforeseen circumstances created by the pandemic.

"Since the onset of the global COVID-19pandemic, the Birmingham Organizing Committee of The World Games 2021 has been monitoring the evolving situation and maintained ongoing communication with the International World Games Association," says Sellers in a statement.

"Our priority is, and will continue to be, the safety and well-being of our participants and spectators.

"While it would be premature to speculate about specific changes to our event at this time, I would like to reassure our athletes, fans and community that the BOC and IWGA are committed to delivering a world-class edition of The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama," says Sellers.

A decision on new dates for the event will be made following the videoconference. Among the options being considered is moving the World Games ahead by one or two weeks in 2021. Another option calls for a one year postponement, but keeping to the same dates planned for 2021.

The postponement to July 2022 seems to be the most suitable alternative as long as the city and the Organizing Committee of Birmingham can handle the increase in the games budget that postponement would create..

According to an official IWGA statement, the International Olympic Committee pledged to help the World Games "overcome the main challenges created by the decision."

"We have to strive to find the best date for the World Games to maintain the relevance they should have in the United States," reflects Perurena, also president of the International Canoe Federation.

"We are analyzing the environment of the international calendar, its readjustment, and achieving the best possible World Games," said Perurena.

Reported by Miguel Hernandez.