20 Sep. 2023
The ‘Road to Chengdu’ is well underway with the announcement today (Wednesday 20 September) from the International World Games Association (IWGA) of all the disciplines on the programme of The World Games 2025.
The 12th edition of The World Games will take place in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China, from 7-17 August 2025 – the third time that the multi-sport event will be hosted in Asia.
Beach Handball was confirmed as part of The World Games 2025 by the IWGA Executive Committee at its Annual General Meeting last May and today, the IWGA announced the final list of sporting disciplines which will appear at Chengdu 2025.
Click HERE to see the sporting disciplines.
Up to 5,000 participants (including athletes and technical officials) will be present in the city which has successfully hosted the 2019 World Police and Fire Games and 2023 FISU World University Games in recent years.
Title-holders on the sand hoping to defend their podium-topping spots
The last edition of The World Games was held in Birmingham, USA, in 2022 with Croatia’s men and Germany’s women taking the Beach Handball titles. And both teams are looking forward to the chance of returning to the competition to defend their titles.
“The World Games, together with the IHF World Championships, are the most important worldwide competitions. For us, it is our goal and honour to get the chance playing on this level,” said Germany women’s coach Alexander Novakovic to ihf.info.
“Last year we had the highest media reach (at these events) as it was the first time Beach Handball was on free TV in Germany – this helped our sport a lot.
“We have to work really hard to get the chance to be back in Chengdu because many teams are on the highest level. We have big respect for their work and we have to develop our play and our skills to have a chance.”
Croatia men’s coach Mladen Paradžik is hoping Chengdu will continue an impressive run for his side.
“The Croatia men’s team have participated in all The World Games so far (Duisburg, Kaohsiung, Cali, Wroclaw and Birmingham), so we hope that we will be able to qualify for Chengdu 2025, although it is always hard as only continental champions, world champions, and the host nation are allowed to play in it,” he said.
“The World Games is an event that we care about a lot because of its unique format. It is still the only competition that repeats every four years and that means it is always hard to qualify for. Multisport events have a specific meaning to our team since every player is part of the wider country squad as a whole which makes it different compared to the World and European Beach Handball championships.
“I am sure that Chengdu 2025 will be an exceptional competition.”
His captain, Ivan Jurić, has an extra-special reason to make it to Chengdu 2025. “If we qualify, and if I get selected for the team, Chengdu will be my last The World Games before the end of my career, so I’m very motivated to help Croatia qualify for Chengdu 2025,” said the inspirational captain.
“Although it’s hard to qualify, the tournament itself offers more time for rest and recuperation between the games due to the small number of teams. Last year was my fourth The World Games appearance and it brought me the best memories since we won gold [and with it] I accomplished one of my personal goals: to complete the set of gold medals at all three major beach handball competitions – The World Games, European Championship and World Championship.
“The Olympic spirit can be felt since at The World Games as it is a multisport event and most of the athletes are accommodated in the Athletes Village – it’s a very special tournament.”
For Germany national team player Katharina Filter, The World Games gold last year was one to remember, and she echoed the thoughts of Jurić about feeling part of a wider community of athletes.
“There is an instant connection with athletes from your own country you have never met before and you try to support each other as much as you can,” said the 24-year-old goalkeeper.
“While supporting other German teams at Birmingham 2022 we saw some win gold medals and we all knew that we wanted to have one [also]. So after our final victory we were really happy and proud of ourselves to have shown what we were capable of.
“I would love to experience the next The World Games as you can learn so much there – it‘s a reward for all of the hard work and such a nice experience.”
“Fundamental for the global growth of our sport”
Next month, Chairman of the IHF Beach Handball Working Group, Giampiero Masi, will be part of a Technical Delegates meeting of all sports appearing at Chengdu 2025 and the importance of the event for Beach Handball is clear.
“We are following an important path to achieve our Olympic Games dream and The World Games 2025 represent another step,” said Masi to ihf.info. “When we use the term ‘important’ we have to associate it with ‘quality’ and work on it.
“We have already demonstrated the value of Beach Handball within an event that sees the presence of other sports and the competition in China will show the whole world the level reached by Beach Handball.
About The World Games
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the IWGA, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee.
Beach Handball has been part of The World Games since it was introduced as a demonstration/invitational sport in Japan in 2001. It followed in Germany (2005) and Chinese Taipei (2009), before becoming a full sport at the 2013 edition in Colombia and then continuing in Poland (2017) and the USA (2022).
Chengdu 2025 will be the 12th edition of The World Games, the most recent being held in Birmingham, USA, last July, with 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries taking part.
For further information, visit www.theworldgames.org.