Vizer defiant on World Combat Games despite withdrawals
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The World Combat Games will go ahead next year despite the withdrawal of several sports in protest over the chief organizer’s attack on the International Olympic Committee.
Marius Vizer, head of the umbrella body SportAccord that runs the multi-sport event, said Wednesday his organization “would like to confirm the commitment to the World Combat Games and the unity of the combat sports family.”
Vizer issued the statement after the international wrestling and taekwondo federations cut ties Monday with SportAccord, including participation in next year’s games in Lima, Peru. Boxing pulled out of the World Combat Games last week.
The backlash followed Vizer’s speech at the SportAccord convention in Sochi last month, in which he blasted the IOC and its president, Thomas Bach.
Boxing, taekwondo and wrestling were three of the six Olympic sports scheduled to be on the combat games program, along with fencing, judo and weightlifting. Non-Olympic sports on the program include karate and sumo.
Vizer said SportAccord spoke with 15 participating federations at the Sochi meeting and they were “positive and encouraging with unanimous expressions of support for the event.”
Previous World Combat Games were held in Beijing in 2010 and St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013.
Vizer said the 2016 event will generate more than $20 million in revenues for all participating federations.