(ATR) Organizers of SportAccord’s World Combat Games tell Around the Rings
that the event will boost St. Petersburg’s sporting reputation, with a 2024 Olympic bid on the horizon.
Zhuravlev is looking forward to showcasing St. Petersburg's hosting capabilities. (RIAN)
Pavel Zhuravlev, head of the directorate of the Games, told ATR
that Russia was treating the Oct. 18 to 26 event as an important showcase of the city’s capabilities. Deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak is chair of the organizing committee.
About 1,500 athletes from 100 countries will take part in the program featuring 15 sports and 33 disciplines. Savate (French kickboxing) and fencing are making their debut at this World Combat Games. Organizers are planning to welcome up to 200,000 spectators over the nine days of competition.
The St. Petersburg edition expands on the inaugural event in Beijing in 2010 when around 1,000 athletes participated.
“Now we have 4 Olympic sports (judo, wrestling, boxing and fencing). So the sport program has improved,” he said.
Competition will be held in 3 venues: Sports and Concerts Complex (SCC) Peterburgskiy, the Yubileyny Sports Palace, and in the city’s new basketball arena on Krestovsky Island, which is close to the new FIFA World Cup stadium.
The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in the Ice Palace (Nevsky district).
“The cultural program is very comprehensive. For St. Petersburg, it’s quite natural to unite and combine sport and cultural traditions,” Zhuravlev added.
On Oct. 23, a cultural event will take place in Konstantinovsky Palace, venue for the G20 Summit earlier this year. The forum titled “The World of Combat Sports and Society” will be organized in partnership with the Peace and Sport organization, headed by Joel Bouzou.
Also part of the cultural program through the week are the Mariinsky ballet, a panda show from China and Thai evening in the ExpoForum, venue for this year’s SportAccord Convention.
Yubileyny Sports Palace (Russian Federation)
The Sochi 2014 Olympic torch relay journeys through the city on Oct. 27 and 28.
Mikhail Radko, CEO of the group considering a possible 2024 or 2028 Olympic bid from St. Petersburg, told ATR
that the World Combat Games would strengthen the city’s multisport hosting credentials.
“It is a huge step in our dream – the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said, noting that the Combat Games would be broadcast in 50 countries.
He said St. Petersburg’s Olympic strategy was underway with investments to improve the 18 districts of the city, including cultural, educational, and infrastructural projects.
“Our team will most probably bid for 2024,” Radko said, but added that St. Petersburg might have a better chance to win the 2028 Games.
Reported by Mark Bisson
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