IWAS World Games heading to Thailand in 2023
The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) has announced that the 2023 IWAS World Games will take place in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from 1-9 December.
The city will finally get the chance to stage the multi-sport event after missing out in 2020 because of COVID-19. It will follow the recently announced 2022 IWAS World Games in Sochi, Russia.
The Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand (SADT) are planning an ambitious programme of 14 potential sports. These include athletics, swimming, shooting, wheelchair tennis, sitting volleyball, powerlifting, table tennis, archery, badminton, taekwondo and wheelchair fencing. E-sports, road cycling and lawn bowls are also under discussion for inclusion.
President of Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King (SPADT) and Chairman of the Local Organsing Committee, Mr. Chukiat Singsung added, “Thailand is delighted to be trusted by IWAS to host the IWAS World Games 2023.
“Last year we were preparing to host the IWAS World Games 2020 but unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we were unable to go through with the event.
“These efforts have not been wasted however, because they mean we are now well-prepared for 2023. The venues in Nakhon Ratchasima have been used for many international Para sports events and the facilities have already been updated to make them more accessible. We also have a good plan in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone involved.
“Thailand therefore stands ready to gather hundreds of athletes, coaches, classifiers and officials from around the world together for the IWAS World Games 2023 under the motto: Stronger Power Together with Pride.”
The programme features 11 Paralympic sports, two of which made their debut at Tokyo 2020 – Para taekwondo and badminton. Both sports have featured at previous editions of IWAS World Games as part of their development and road to inclusion at the Paralympics.
Sports such as athletics and swimming which appear at most editions of the Games have seen some of the world’s best Para athletes emerge. Wheelchair racers Tatyana McFadden of the USA and Switzerland’s Marcel Hug as well as South African sprinter Ntando Mahlangu have all won medals and set records at the Games in the past.
IWAS will work with the relevant International Federations for all sports on recognition and classification opportunities.
IWAS President, Rudi Van Den Abbeele, said: “We are delighted to be able to confirm the Games programme for the next two years, giving our Members the time to plan and prepare their schedules. After such a turbulent couple of years for us all, we hope the announcement of these Games will reinvigorate and excite our Members for the opportunities of the future.
“Once again we will bring hundreds of new and experienced athletes together to showcase the best of what Para sport has to offer. With Nakhon Ratchasima 2023 taking place less than a year ahead of Paris 2024, we hope it will be a great preview for the Paralympics as it has been in the past.
“When you add the enthusiasm and passion shown by SADT – who have never given up on their ambition to host an IWAS World Games – it is the perfect recipe for a fantastic event in 2023.”
Fresh from his triple gold medal winning performance at Tokyo 2020, Thailand’s T53 wheelchair racer, Pongsakorn Paeyo, is looking forward to competing at his third IWAS Games on home soil: “My first competition was the IWAS Youth World Games in Athlone, Ireland, followed by the IWAS World Games in Sharjah, UAE, competitions that greatly helped me to improve my skills. I am glad to hear that we, Thailand, will be the host for the IWAS World Games 2023 and I look forward to seeing you all here.”
The venues for Nakhon Ratchasima 2023 feature some of the city’s most famous landmarks. These include His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary Sports Complex, the Chatchai Hall, Terminal 21, The Mall, the Central Nakhon Ratchasima Convention Hall and the Liptapanlop Hall.