(by Jan Fransoo – IKF President) In July of this year we will celebrate the 10th edition of The World Games. The World Games is the pinnacle of korfball competitions: the best eight countries in the world compete for the medals in an IOC-recognized multi-sports competition.
With the inclusion of The World Games in Thomas Bach’s Agenda 2020, the importance and exposure of this event has reached a next level. Together with the International World Games Association, the IOC will be more closely involved in the program and organization of this multi-sports competition. With prior World Games sports such as rugby and badminton now on the program of the Olympic Games, and prior Olympic sports such as softball on the program of The World Games, I expect these games to develop into the premier stepping stone closely paired with the Olympic Games. Under the leadership of IOC Member Jose Perurena, the close ties between the IOC and the IWGA that were developed by Ron Froehlich have been strengthened further.
What does this imply for korfball? As a key sport in eight out of nine prior editions of The World Games, and this time being in the first half of the program, the korfball event will offer huge opportunities for exposure of our sport. Media coverage will be more then ever before, as will attention by Members and staff of the IOC. I am sure the athletes will show the best of their performance. The IKF Competitions Committee is working hard to ensure the best possible entertained competition, further improving the excellent spectator experience we have witnessed in Cali in 2013.
In the future, the IKF is targeting to add a second korfball discipline to the program of The World Games. After the inaugural 2017 Open European Beach Korfball Championship and likely Asian Beach Korfball Championship, we plan to work toward a series of beach korfball events that will position us for a beach korfball tournament as part of the 2021 World Games. In this way, two korfball competitions could be part of the 2021 World Games in the USA. Delivering an excellent event in 2017 in Wroclaw is however crucial for creating that opportunity.
Looking forward to these Games in Poland, let me also take this opportunity to send all of you, whether player, official, or fan, the best wishes for another exciting year of korfball. Don’t miss attending the World Games and see you in Wroclaw!
Dr Jan Fransoo