Sports

Here comes the world, again

Kickboxing is just one of the many forms of martial arts in the inaugural TAFISA World Martial Arts Games Sept. 3 to 7 at the Richmond Olympic Oval. - sub
Kickboxing is just one of the many forms of martial arts in the inaugural TAFISA World Martial Arts Games Sept. 3 to 7 at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
— image credit: sub

The world is returning to Richmond next month for one of the biggest sporting events since it hosted long track speed skating at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA) is joining forces with the Richmond Olympic Oval Corporation on the inaugural TAFISA World Martial Arts Games Sept. 3 to 7.

“In terms of prestige and significance to the martial arts community, this is huge. It’s essentially like their Olympic Games,” says Aran Kay, program manager at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The 700 athletes representing 30 countries needed to qualify for the Games based on previous tournament results. And just as in the Olympics, participants are registered by their country as a team and not as individual athletes. Additionally, gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded for the top three placings in each event.

The martial arts community has hosted a world games before, but this is the first time TAFISA has organized such an event. It has also earned patronage from the International Olympic Committee.

“There’s hope that with rules and regulations in place maybe one day an application can be made to include some of these events in the Olympics, that aren’t currently represented. But that’s a long way down the road,” says Kay.

The first of its kind, the Games will encompass a martial arts festival that combines interactive demonstrations followed by a competition event that will showcase the martial arts athletes.

The demonstrations, on Sept. 4, will allow the public to learn more about each event and actually access lessons in the different disciplines, says Kay.

A few members of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club, who are into the martial arts, are also expected to attend the events and hand out some medals. They’ll also be available to sign some autographs.

“With 30 countries involved, we’re on a pretty tight schedule,” says Kay.

Tickets are available at richmondoval.ca. A media sponsor, The Richmond Review is giving away a grand prize package to see some of the best martial artists in the world compete. The package includes four three-day passes to the Games, four VIP game packs to see the Whitecaps, four Whitecaps autographed posters, four one-month passes to the Richmond Olympic Oval and a chance to meet a Whitecaps player at the Games.

Enter online at richmondreview.com. Click on contests. Entry deadline is Aug. 25.

 

GAMES FACTS:

•The inaugural World Martial Arts Games, presented by the Association for International Sport for All and the Richmond Olympic Oval Corporation, will be held Sept. 3 to 7 at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

 

•The Games are the first of their kind, encompassing a martial arts festival that combines interactive demonstrations followed by a competition event that will showcase 700 athletes from 30 countries around the world.

 

•Federation championships are scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4, the latter featuring all-day interactive demonstrations. Weigh-ins will also be held Sept. 4.

 

•Opening ceremonies will be held on the evening of Sept. 5, followed by under-13 competition during the day.

 

•Forms and self-defence competition for athletes 13-plus will be held Sept. 6.

 

•Sparring and grappling for athletes 13-plus will be held Sept. 7, which will be followed by closing ceremonies.

 

•Tickets are $30 for a three-day pass and $15 for a one-day pass. More information is available at richmondoval.ca.

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