Birmingham will play host to the 2022 World Games in July, and diverse games from all over the world will be included. Fans will be familiar with many of the sports featured, such as softball, gymnastics, lacrosse and karate; but with more than 30 sports and over 100 countries represented, the World Games offer an opportunity for spectators to get a look at some lesser-known international sports.
“As one of the sponsors of the World Games, Regions is excited to introduce sports aficionados to global games and to showcase Birmingham as a progressive, diverse and welcoming American city,” says Mark Senter, Regions corporate marketing.
Here are five of the more unusual sports coming to this year’s World Games:
Most everyone’s heard of basketball, but what about Korfball? This sport, which resembles a cross between basketball and netball (another team ball sport played without backboards), has its origins in the Netherlands. Consisting of eight players, four male and four female, korfball is the world’s only dedicated mixed-gender sport. Like basketball, the object of the game is to throw your ball into the opponent’s korf (the Dutch word for basket). Unlike basketball, a player may not dribble the ball.
Learn more about korfball, its rules, and when to see it at the World Games.
Muaythai is one of the martial arts featured at the World Games. As its name implies, Muaythai began in Thailand and is also known as “Thai boxing” or the “art of eight limbs,” as athletes use fists, elbows, knees and shins in combat.
Find out more about Muaythai and watch a match at Boutwell Auditorium.
Lyonnaise falls in the category of boules sports, where athletes compete by throwing or rolling a ball as close as they can to an intended target. Lyonnaise differs from the other boule sport featured at this year’s World Games, pétanque, in that players can run up with the boule; in pétanque their feet must remain planted.
You can watch all the boules sports this year at Bessie Estell Park.
If you’re familiar with lifeguard training, then you have a good idea of what lifesaving sport looks like. Athletes demonstrate their lifesaving skills, including a manikin carry, manikin tow, and obstacle swim.
Learn about lifesaving and catch the competition at the Birmingham CrossPlex pool.
Canopy piloting is one of two air sports you can see at this year’s World Games. Canopy piloting is a high-speed sport in which the skydiving athlete must control a parachute as they descend toward the “swooping pond.” Even spectators will feel a rush of adrenaline as they watch this sport.
Learn more about canopy piloting and the other air sport — drone racing — featured at the World Games.
Patsy Dew, vice president of sport for The World Games 2022, is eager to see both the unique and more traditional sports on the Birmingham stage. “The international sports spotlight will be on Birmingham this summer and we’re delighted to be able to highlight some emerging games and athletes.”
Check out the complete roster of sports at the official World Games 2022 website.