The World Games are over: Here’s a look at what you may have missed

By WVUA 23 News Contributor Chandra Clark

On Friday, July 15, WVUA 23 contributor and University of Alabama Assistant Professor Chandra Clark visited six different venues in Birmingham that are hosting athletes competing in The World Games July 7 through July 17.

Clark taught a class called “Covering The World Games” in Spring 2022, and several students from her class and others from the University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences are working locally with International Sports Broadcasting in production, ticketing and assisting in managing at the 15 different venues.

The class created 30 virtual tours featuring the 34 multidisciplinary sports, the venues, and areas surrounding the locations in Birmingham.

You can view the interactive virtual tours right here.

The gallery above is an up-close look at seven different sports and the world-class athletes who traveled from 100 different countries to Birmingham as part of the competition.

The World Games is an international sporting event held every four years in the year following the Summer Olympic Games. It is staged over 11 days and consists of 34 sports with 48 disciplines and 223 medal events. The event in Birmingham was originally scheduled for 2021 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

This marks the 40th anniversary of the World Games and is first time the event has been hosted in the U.S. since the inaugural games in Santa Clara, California, in 1981.

Venue No. 1: Sloss Furnaces

  • Trend Sport | Sport Climbing: Boulder
  • Photos: Boulder Qualifying Round
  • Medal Winners:
    • Gold – Nicolas Collin (Belgium)
    • Silver – Kokoro Fujii (Japan)
    • Bronze – Yoshiuki Ogata (Japan)

Sport Climbing is a form of rock climbing that takes place on artificial structures. There are three disciplines featured at the World Games: Lead, Speed and Boulder.

In Boulder, competitors perform climbing artificial rock walls known as boulders without the use of ropes or harnesses. Different holds bolted to the wall create “problems” for the climber as they navigate the climb.

The steep overhanging surfaces force the climber to perform highly technical movements while much of their weight with their upper body strength.

Out of 11 competitors who competed Friday morning, six advanced to the final round Friday afternoon where Nicolas Collin (Belgium), Kokoro Fujii (Japan), and Yoshiuki Ogata (Japan) were awarded the gold, silver, and bronze medals respectively.

Venue No. 2: UAB Recreation Center

  • Ball Sport | Squash
  • Photos: Men’s Quarterfinals – Switzerland vs. Germany; France vs. Canada
  • Medal Winner Rounds: Sunday, July 17

Squash is a racquet sport played using a hollow rubber ball. After a player serves, the players take turns hitting the ball against the front wall. The ball may strike the side or back walls at any time, as long as it hits below the outline. It must not hit the floor after making contact with the racket. After the ball hits the front wall, it is allowed to bounce once on the floor (and any number of times against the side or back walls) before a player must return it.

A match is the best of five games.

In the featured photos, Switzerland’s Dimitri Steinmann defeated Germany’s Raphael Kandra 2-0 to advance to the semifinals.

France’s Gregoire Marche also advanced to the semifinal round after a 2-0 victory over Canada’s David Baillargeon. Steinmann and March play at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 16, to see who advances for a medal to be awarded Sunday, July 17.

Venue No. 3: John Carroll High School – Homewood

  • Trend Sport | Flying Disc
  • Photos: Semifinals | Japan vs. Great Britain
  • Medal Winner Round:
    • Gold – Australia vs. USA 6 p.m., Saturday, July 16
    • Bronze – Germany vs. Colombia 4 p.m., Saturday, July 16

In the World Games, Flying Disc is a non-contact, self-refereed team sport playing with a flying disc.

Two teams of seven players compete on a playing field roughly the same length as a football field but the field of play is narrower.

Each team defends one end zone, and a score (goal) is made if a player catches a disc in the opposite end zone. A team can advance the disc to the opposing end zone with any number of passes including one long throw to the end zone.

In this match, Japan won 13-11.

Venue No. 4: Oak Mountain State Park

  • Trend Sport: Waterski and Wakeboard
  • Photos: Preliminary Round | Men’s Jump; Final Round | Women’s Slalom
  • Medal Winners:
    • Gold: Regina Jaquess (USA)
    • Silver: Jaimee Bull (Canada)
    • Bronze: Geena Krueger (Germany)

Waterski has three categories: Slalom, Trick and Jump. While the boat speed is fixed in Slalom, the rope length is not and it’s shortened after each successful pass. Skiers use one ski to navigate around a six-buoy course to complete the pass. The skier who successfully passes around the most buoys on the shortest rope wins.

In Jump, the skier who travels the farthest calculated distance and still lands on his two skis to successfully ride away wins.

USA’s Taylor Garcia qualified for the final round with only his first two out of three jumps. After soaring for 61.2 and 62.7 meters, he didn’t take the third jump and kept his top score of 62.7 to advance in competition against four others for the gold medal on Saturday, July 16.

Venue No. 5 Avondale Park

  • Precision Sport | Men’s Field Barebow Archery
  • Photos: Bronze Medal Match
  • Medal Winners:
    • Gold: Erik Jonsson (Sweden)
    • Silver: Leo Pettersson (Sweden)
    • Bronze: Ryan Davis (USA)

At Avondale Park, the men’s field barebow archery featured USA’s Ryan Davis vs. Germany’s Michael Meyer for the bronze medal.

All athletes shoot at 24 targets and shoot three arrows at each target; six points is the maximum that can be scored with one arrow. In the final head-to-head match over four separate distances of 15 meters, 20 meters, 40 meters, and 50 meters, Ryan Davis won the bronze medal with a final score of 52-51.

Venue No. 6: Sloss Furnaces

  • Ball Sport | Beach Handball
  • Photos: Bronze Medal Match USA vs. Brazil
  • Medal Winners:
    • Gold: Croatia
    • Silver: Qatar
    • Bronze: Brazil

At Sloss Furnaces, Brazil’s Beach Handball team kept a steady lead throughout the bronze medal match.

In this team sport played on sand, players pass, bounce or roll a ball, as they try to throw it in the goal of the opposing team. Each team features three standard players and a goalie or specialist on each side.

Games are split into two 10-minute halves which serve as individual games within the overall match. Each match is a best-out-of-two scenario.

A goal scored by any players, excluding the specialist or goalie, is worth one point. Two points can be scored in three ways: a player does an “alley-oop” where a player catches and shoots the ball without their feet touching the ground, a goalie or specialist scores a goal, or a player makes a spectacular or 360 -degree shot.

Venue No. 7 Legacy Arena/Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex:

  • Artistic Sport | Women’s Pairs Acrobatic Gymnastics
  • Photos: Final Exercise | Kazakstan, Portugal, Ukraine, USA
  • Medal Winners:
    • Gold: Viktoriia Kozlovska and Taisiia Marchenko (Ukraine)
    • Silver: Rita Ferreira and Rita Teixeira (Portugal)
    • Bronze: Katherine Borcherding and Cierra McKown (USA)

Acrobatic gymnasts present a routine with music that includes a certain number of required collective and individual elements of static, dynamic and combined types.

Three evaluation criteria include difficulty, execution, and artistry which judges rate competitors on holding balanced pyramidal maneuvers held for at least three seconds, flight elements and tumbling.

Ukraine’s Viktoriia Kozlovska and Taisiia Marchenko won the final exercise round with a score of 29.29, Portugal’s Rita Ferreira and Rita Teixeira finished with a 28.78, and USA’s Katherine Borcherding and Cierra McKown capped off the medal wins with a 27.10 score.

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