Successful site visit to World Games 2023 venues


Representatives of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) returned from Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, recently pleased with the progress being made by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the IWAS World Games 2023.

Chief Executive Charmaine Hooper and Sports Coordinator Harry Cootes spent five days in and around the city, visiting the hotels and venues which will stage next year’s edition.

They were welcomed and shown around by members of the LOC, coaches and athletes on a tour which also included a stop at the wheelchair fencing venue for this year’s World Cup in Pattaya.

Three hotels were inspected for accessibility and suitability for the estimated 1,200 athletes from 35 countries who are expected to compete at the World Games 2023.

Organisers are planning an ambitious provisional programme of 17 sports – around double the number at previous Games. These include athletics, swimming, shooting, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting, table tennis, archery, badminton, road cycling, indoor rowing and wheelchair fencing. Lawn bowls and wheelchair rugby are also under discussion for inclusion as well as E-sports, petanque and Thai Takraw Ball as demonstration sports.

“It was a pleasure to welcome representatives of IWAS to Thailand and to show them the facilities and organisation of the IWAS World Games 2023. Preparations are going extremely well and we look forward to the opportunity to finally realising these Games in Nakhon Ratchasima next year,” Chukiat Singsung, President of the LOC and the Sport Association for the Disabled Thailand.

Amongst the venues are His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary Stadium which will stage athletics. The facility has a brand new accessible gym and the shooting range, swimming pool, tennis courts and many indoor sports facilities were also viewed.

With plans to bring Para sport to the people, three shopping malls containing large convention centres also feature in the LOC’s plans.

Hooper and Cootes had various meetings with the organisers on logistics, planning, transport, accommodation and the sport’s programme.

“This has the potential to be the biggest IWAS World Games on record and we went to Thailand with great expectations,” Hooper said. “We were not disappointed. The organisers have thought carefully about how to make the event memorable for athletes and teams and, as we have said before, never gave up on their dream to host even despite the challenges of the last couple of years.

“We are looking forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months to help realise our shared aspirations.”

The IWAS World Games 2023 will be staged from 1-9 December.

The programme is set to feature 12 Paralympic sports, including badminton. The sport was staged at previous editions of IWAS World Games as part of its 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.

The next IWAS World Games will be hosted in Vila Real de Santo Antonio from 23-29 November 2022.