By Raymond Rolak
Wrocław-- The World Games are held every four years, a year after the summer Olympics. After many years of planning, the tenth edition of The World Games is almost ready to start. A better location could not have been selected. The host city of Wrocław (vrots-wɑ), puts its best foot forward when you arrive at Copernicus Airport Wrocław (WRO). This is a super-efficient and ultra-modern international airport. Wrocław is Poland’s 4th largest city and it is an exciting and intriguing place with an old city center and a vibrant nightlife. Wrocław will be the 10th city to host the games, which have been held since 1981.
The attractive capital of the Lower Silesia region in Poland has many charms. There are many riverside vistas, lively squares and a combination of historic and contemporary buildings. Even Odra River looks great. There are many new bistros, taverns, restaurants, and walkways along its banks. The city-center is a thriving multicultural area. It is home to a growing student community and acts as the financial, cultural and commercial hub of western Poland. It is ground-zero to a wide variety of musical, theatrical events and film festivals.
The opening ceremony had an extravagant multi-media production with performances by some 400 artists, including Polish pop stars and a symphony orchestra. The spectacular showcase was put together by artistic director Krzysztof Materna. Highlighted musical contributions were provided by Dawid Kwiatowski, Radzimir Debski, Steve Nash and The Turntable Orchestra. Entertainers Kamil Bednarek, Igor Herbut, Lemon, and French band BeMY also contributed.
Many of the athletes, support staff, The World Games family, and volunteers have arrived in the city. “Wroclaw is beautiful and quite quiet,” said Chen Sen Ting, a medical support staff member from Chinese Taipei. “Yes, the scenery is lovely and the food is good too,” added Li Rou Zhen, a medical colleague.
The World Games could not function without the enthusiastic volunteers. Marta Majchrzak is a Polish National who hails from a small town near Poznan. She is a professional aquatics lifeguard and trainer (coach). She has volunteered her vacation to support this event. “I was a volunteer in Norway at the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympics, where I was training young people. Hopefully, I can encourage swimmers to go beyond their limits in a healthy way. I hope to meet lots of inspiring people from all over the world. It is something special to help people. Would you say, warm-fuzzy?” (She was practicing her English idioms with me!)
Majchrzak will be attached to the team from Argentina and act as their local host. “Ten people are coming from Argentina to compete in some non-traditional sports. As she contemplatively continued, “I do not speak Spanish very well, but I understand it. I need to learn more because I am hoping to be a volunteer at the Youth Summer Olympics in Buenos Aires next year.” Majchrzak added, “The enthusiasm is contagious.”
THE ‘SKINNY’ on participation: The World Games 2017 will feature 3,250 athletes from 111 countries, who will compete in 31 different sports, (27 official sports and four invitational sports). The venues will be spread across the host city of Wrocław. The largest number of athletes comes from the host country Poland, with 249 athletes or teams. France is the second-largest team with its 172 athletes/teams, ahead of Italy (152). Germany will send 145 athletes or teams to Wrocław and the biggest non-European participant is the USA with 126 athletes/teams.
The official sports at The World Games 2017 are: Air Sports, Archery, Beach Handball, Billiards, Boules Sport, Bowling, Canoeing, Dance Sport, Fistball, Floorball, Flying Disc (frisbee), Gymnastics, Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Korfball, Lacrosse, Life Saving, Muaythai, Orienteering, Powerlifting, Roller Sports, Sport Climbing, Squash, Sumo, Tug of War, Underwater Sports, and Water Ski & Wakeboard. There will be a four-team American football competition between Poland, France, Germany and the USA.
The World Games 2021 will take place in Birmingham, Alabama.
Raymond Rolak is in Poland participating in the Confederation of European Baseball ‘B’ Pool Championship hosted in Miejska Górka, Poland.