More countries than ever before are set to compete at this year's The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. The International Canoe Federation will be a major player, with canoe marathon officially joining canoe polo on the programme for the first time.

The countdown is on: There are 100 days to go until the grand opening of The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, USA.

The eleventh edition of the multi-sport event will start on the evening of 7 July in the Protective Stadium. IOC President Thomas Bach will be present at the opening ceremony. The Games in the state of Alabama will see 3,600 athletes strive for The World Games gold in 34 sports and 223 medal events.

Joachim Gossow, CEO of the International World Games Association, says of the phase that is now coming: "The anticipation is growing among everyone, and it is starting to thrill because we are expecting nothing less than an outstanding Games. I know from talking to Birmingham's Mayor Randall Woodfin that he has set the bar high for his city and wants to give his citizens a once-in-a-lifetime event." Nick Sellers, CEO of the Birmingham Organising Committee says with pride: "Our Games will be the first global multi-sport event we've held in front of packed crowds."

At the same time, Joachim Gossow sees that a crucial phase in the preparations is now beginning. "A lot has already been done. Now we have to put the individual pieces of the puzzle together to form a coherent overall picture. This requires a lot of cooperation and communication amongst each other. The next three months will show that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Putting this into practice always poses its own challenge in the preparation.”

Just in time for the "100 Days to Go" milestone, it is clear that participants from more than 100 nations will compete in the Games, which are returning to the USA for the first time since the première in 1981. Currently, 108 nations are listed in the database. The eleventh edition thus sets a record in the nations ranking. Athletes from 103 countries competed at The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland.

The qualification process is not yet completed; all entries should be available by the end of April. However there are still imponderables here: after the exclusion of the Russian and Belarusian athletes, the international sports federations have to replace the already qualified participants from these two countries. The consequences of the pandemic are also not yet over, and have led to delays in the qualification events.

Joachim Gossow: "We are indeed entering the final stretch now and we are very well on in the race. But the final decisions will only be made on this last 100 meters. We all know that, and are accordingly focusing on the finishing touches."

Birmingham residents can read the time until the Games open on two countdown clocks around the city. For those who can't make it to Birmingham, a countdown clock is also ticking away on the International World Games Association website. A Looking Forward campaign has been running for weeks on the IWGA's Facebook and Instagram channels, where athletes who have qualified for the TWG 2022 introduce themselves and send greetings.

Their motto: CU in Birmingham, Alabama, right now in exactly 100 days.

The World Games

Canoe Marathon
Canoe Polo
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