St. Petersburg was announced as the host city of the 2013 SportAccord World Combat Games during the 2011 SportAccord Convention held in April in London. SportAccord President Hein Verbruggen and Mikhail Ossievski, First Deputy Governor of St. Petersburg, exchanged the Host City contract during the SportAccord General Assembly on the 8th April 2011 at the annual Convention.
This follows the SportAccord Technical meeting in St. Petersburg which was for the 2013 SportAccord Combat Games. One of the attendees to the Technical meeting was IFMA General Secretary and former World Champion Stephan Fox. In St. Petersburg he found a city with a rich and extensive historical background. The city has been recognised by UNESCO for its cultural value and the location could be a fitting one given the emphasis placed on cultural exchange by SportAccord and reflected in its Combat Games.
The infrastructure of the city with regard to its capability to supply venues of a sufficient calibre for the games was also investigated and found to be above par. The city has a number of stadiums and sporting arena’s seen to be ideal for hosting multi-sport games such as the World Combat Games, indeed some of the stadiums have more than one venue ensuring that all competing sports will have sell out arenas.
2013 will see the second occasion of the SportAccord World Combat Games with Savate and Fencing the new inclusions on the competitive roster. ‘We are happy that two more sports want to join the World Combat Games’, says President Verbruggen of SportAccord. ‘This shows that our concept is appreciated by our members and that they want to take this additional opportunity to promote their sports.’
Deputy Governor Ossievski adds: “Martial arts have always been popular, among the numerous sports practiced in St. Petersburg. More than 35 000 children and youngsters go to sports schools and sports clubs where they do wrestling, boxing, fencing, karate, wushu, taekwondo and other kinds of martial arts. There are hundreds of sports clubs in the city and we think that the World Combat Games will further propagate healthy lifestyle among the population and promote the philosophy of good will inherent in the sports.”
After the resounding success of the inaugural 2010 World Combat games in Beijing St. Petersburg will have a challenge on its hands to attain the same high levels. Over 1000 athletes from all five continents participated and about the same number of volunteers helped to deliver the event. During the eight days of competition, 118 gold medals were awarded across 13 martial disciplines. IFMA is looking forward to the next World Combat Games and is sure that St. Petersburg has what it takes to present an event that will surpass the expectations generated by the largest martial arts competition in history, the 2010 World Combat Games.