Riyadh has been confirmed as the host for the 2023 World Combat Games (WCG), an event featuring 15 combat sports and martial arts that are members of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).
The Kingdom “is looking forward to welcoming athletes from all parts of the world,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, president of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC).
“Saudi Arabia is very much aligned with the Olympic values, and this event is within the country’s Vision 2030 (plan) to promote a vibrant society with a diverse and thriving economy,” he added.
The Kingdom “has the infrastructure, and will use this event to strengthen the martial arts community in Saudi Arabia, and use these multisport games as one of the first major events toward the Asian Games 2034.”
The WCG aims to promote combat sports and martial arts among international and local communities through the following 15 disciplines: Aikido, boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, Thai boxing, sambo, SAFTA, sumo, taekwondo, wrestling, wushu and fencing.
The WCG “is much more than a sporting event powered by GAISF, it is part of an MoU (memorandum of understanding) between GAISF and the IOC (International Olympic Committee),” said GAISF and SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli.
“The WCG represents sports as much from the non-Olympic as from the Olympic family. The next steps will be to finalize the sport program with the International Sports Federations and obtain final approval from the IOC.”
Stephan Fox, chairman of the GAISF multisport games and a former martial art world champion, believes that Saudi Arabia is an ideal choice for this post-COVID-19 tournament.
“The bid presented by Saudi is robust and inspiring. The vision for this event will bring a festival celebratory atmosphere,” said Fox, who is also GAISF vice president.
“There will be workshops by leading martial art masters, educational conferences and the first World Martial Arts Gala, honoring the legends of martial arts and combat sports.”