What sports will be played in Birmingham's 2021 World Games?
Birmingham will be host to the 2021 World Games.
A total of 4,500 athletes from across the globe will participate in more than 25 sports including five types of gymnastics, lacrosse, tug of war and indoor hockey. Other events are less familiar like canoe polo and korf ball.
The world games will last ten days and are planned for July, 2021. Both fans and athletes in town are already excited for the event still six years away.
"It's going to give the community here an opportunity to see some sports that they might not be accustomed to, especially here in SEC Country where football, basketball and baseball are pretty much king," said Lance Rhodes, Director of Sports Performance at Godspeed Elite Sports Academy in Hoover.
The facility trains athletes for several sports included in the World Games.
"We also train a lot of softball players, so for the girls, that's a tremendous sport that will be part of the world games," said Rhodes. "We train sports climbers- we do their strength and conditioning to be able to help them with the climbing and then we also do a lot with power lifting."
The Crossplex will be one of the major venues to host the World Games.
"We've got a lot of space here, a lot of opportunity to do many different sports," said Faye Oates, Director of the Crossplex. "The track can obviously handle all kind of field sports, track sports. We also have an aquatic auditorium. We're expecting to host some swimming and aquatic sports. Then we have the arena."
Some of the other venues expected to host events are the BJCC, Samford, UAB and Oak Mountain State Park.
Some of the sports to look forward to: Canoe polo, wakeboarding, gymnastics.
Ever heard of korf ball? It could be played on the basketball court at the Crossplex.
It's similar to basketball. Men and women play together with a ball that looks like a soccer ball.
Lacrosse is another sport included.
Jim Jasinski is director of Lacrosse Academy of Birmingham.
"Six years is a long time. We have some tremendous stories coming out of Birmingham for kids that are getting selected to play at the college level If we're lucky, maybe we can get a local story and have a participant from our area," said Jasinski.
Jasinki says he's planning for a lacrosse tournament the same week of the world games so players can also go watch. He expects it to draw another five to ten thousand families.
"We're excited," continued Jasinski. "The city did a great job in attracting the world games. We want to do our part in promoting it. It won't be hard because kids like to come and compete in lacrosse and have a good time while enjoying watching as well."
Rhodes believes hosting the World Games locally will also be motivating for the athletes at his gym.
"So having it here in their backyard will maybe motivate others to really compete and try to get to where they can compete on the national and then the world level with the world games being here," said Rhodes.