Womens Racquetball

Israel sends over 50 athletes to Birmingham, Alabama to compete in World Games

More than 50 Israeli athletes will be in Birmingham this month to compete in the World Gamesincluding participating in a team sport for the first time.

The World Games, which take place every four years, will take place at venues around Birmingham from July 7-17. Some 3,600 international athletes from 110 countries will take part in more than 200 medal competitions in 34 sports, most of which are not on the Olympic list.

Many sports are familiar to the American public, including archery, billiards, bowling, gymnastics, lacrosse, karate, flag football, water skiing, squash, softball, and racquetball. Others are less known, such as petanque, swimming with fins, fistball, korfball, Muaythai and Wushu.

Israel will compete in the Acrobatics, Dancesport, Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing, Lacrosse, Muay Thai, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Sport Climbing, Wakeboarding and Wushu categories.

Israel’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams have both qualified for the eight-nation tournament. The Jewish state hosted the flag football qualifiers in December, and there were high hopes that Israel would make it into the top eight, earning a place in Birmingham, but they came ninth.

An Israeli delegation en route to the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, visits the home of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, with those participating in martial arts showing they are ready, July 2022. Credit: Israel InSight.

The Birmingham Jewish Community is hosting a reception for the Israeli team at Temple Beth-El on July 14. For security reasons, pre-registration is required.

There are several Americans on the lacrosse teams, including a former Birmingham resident Olivia Manonwho did aliyah earlier this year.

“Athletes from Russia and Belarus banned from participation”

Arik Kaplan, president and CEO of Ayelet, the Federation for Non-Olympic Competitive Sports in Israel, said Israel is bringing a delegation of top athletes to Birmingham and hopes the World Games will help attract attention and to support non-Olympic sports. sports in Israel.

The delegation visited the home of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who said: “You are a huge source of pride. We would love to see you come back with medals.

Founded in 1980, the World Games is a non-governmental organization under Swiss law which organizes a major international competition every four years, made up of sports which are not represented in the Olympics, but which in many cases make their way until the Olympics. .

This is the first time the World Games have been held in the United States since the first in Santa Clara, California, in 1981. Host cities are using existing sports venues rather than building new facilities.

Lacrosse player Olivia Mannon of Birmingham, Ala. Photo by Jodi Applebaum/Courtesy of Israel InSight.

The World Games were organized to provide an even higher venue than the World Championships held by each member sport and to develop the international popularity of these sports.

In 2016, the International World Games Association signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding with the International Olympic Committee to strengthen cooperation between the two.

From 1993 to 2014, Ron Froehlich, an active member of the Birmingham Jewish community, served as the International Chairman of the World Games.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from participating in the 2022 World Games due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Originally, 62 Russian athletes and 11 Belarusian athletes were to compete.

Originally, the Russians were going to compete as the “Russian Olympic Committee” rather than as Russia due to sanctions previously administered by the International Olympic Committee due to a state-sponsored doping program. These sanctions extend until the end of 2022; the World Games are considered affiliated with the IOC.

Part of the ticket revenue from the Birmingham games will be donated to Ukraine for the reconstruction of sports venues damaged or destroyed by the Russian invasion.

It is estimated that at least 400,000 and possibly 1 million people will pass through Birmingham during the competition.