World Urban Games Revived

(ATR) A handful of cities have been shortlisted from dozens interested in staging the first World Urban Games.

(ATR) A handful of cities have been shortlisted from dozens which expressed interest in staging the first World Urban Games, a five-day multisports event for around 700 athletes.

GAISF president Patrick Baumann said there was "positive feedback" and GAISF would put together a concept "which we think is feasible and realistic".

Baumann, who also leads SportAccord, revealed the plans at the sports federations’ annual assembly in Bangkok.

Mostly non-Olympic disciplines would make up the sports program, but Baumann suggested that SportAccord in conjunction with the IOC may add some Olympic disciplines.

So far, potential eligible disciplines are 3x3 Basketball, BMX Freestyle Cycling, Breakdance, Boulder Sports Climbing, Freestyle Flying Disc, Parkour, Roller Freestyle, Inline Freestyle and Skateboard.

A consultation with sport stakeholders is underway led by former IAAF secretary general Essar Gabriel. On its completion in September, a short formal bidding process will take place. SportAccord hopes to name the host city by the end of the year with an inaugural edition aimed at being held in 2019.

Baumann envisages a Games with a compact setting, "reproducing an urban cluster as it will be done for the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics".

He said it was aimed at "ensuring that we grow urban disciplines at a faster pace".

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A minute’s silence was held for former SportAccord president Hein Verbruggen, who died earlier this year.

The IAAF, International Golf Federation and International Paralympic Committee rejoined GAISF this week two years after dropping their membership over Marius Vizer’s attack on the IOC.

"We are back to a full house of everyone who was a part of the GAISF family," Baumann said.

IPC president Andrew Parsons tells Around the Rings that it’s "good to be back", adding that being part of GAISF family "adds value" through the connections with federations it brings.

Baumann said GAISF’s relations with the IOC were now firmly back on track and he was pleased at the unity shown by GAISF members after a period of instability.

"I believe that we are on the right path for strengthening the organization. We are only strong when we are united," he said.

"I hope you feel that the wind we have brought through GAISF will allow you to sail through smoother waters this year."

GAISF objectives for the next year include improving the governance of federations, working on membership and trying to provide more services for the IFs.

Armwrestling was approved as a new member of GAISF. Assen Hadjitodorov, president of World Armwrestling Federation, said "You have just made thousands of armwrestlers around the world very happy today".

The World Union of Olympic Cities and World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry were admitted as associate members.

IOC member from Jordan Prince Faisal, chair of the IOC working group on the prevention of harassment and abuse in sport, gave a presentation urging the federations to make use of the IOC’s athlete safeguarding toolkit.

In the wake of the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandal, he said there was a "vast amount of work to be done".

"There must be nowhere left for abusers to hide."

There was no announcement on the 2019 SportAccord host. An announcement is expected in the coming few weeks.

Reported by Mark Bissonin Bangkok

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