The World Games in Birmingham: Let’s See Which Facilities ASBA Can Claim

The papers have been signed and it’s a done deal. The 2021 World Games, a multi-sport festival similar to the Olympics, will be hosted in Birmingham, Alabama. The decision came down in early 2015 and the celebrations – and the preparations – have been on ever since.

Birmingham is the first U.S. city to host the World Games since 1981 when Santa Clara, California, held the inaugural games. The World Games typically attract about 4,000 athletes from more than 100 different nations and include between 25 and 36 sports, including racquetball, squash, sumo, water skiing, body building, canoeing, rugby and taekwondo.

Local sources say the application was buoyed by the presence of Birmingham’s existing sports facilities – a direct contrast to other cities who are bidding on games, and where officials are exploring (sometimes unpopular) options for acquiring land and building facilities for sports events.

So, then, to review, here are the sports and the places in Birmingham where they will be held. It’s time for ASBA members to step forward and take a bow if they were involved in the design, construction or supply of materials or equipment to any of these. Oh, and by the way, there are a lot of sports involved here – many of which, we’re willing to bet, a lot of spectators have never seen.

  • Barber Motorsports Park: Air sports, archery, boules sports, canoe, sport climbing, handball, orienteering, outdoor roller sports, men tug of war
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport: Air sports
  • Birmingham-Southern College Arena: Dance sports, floorball, gymnastics, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war
  • Birmingham-Southern College Stadium: Boules sports, sport climbing, flying disc, lacrosse, outdoor roller sports, men tug of war
  • Birmingham-Southern College Softball: Fistball, handball, softball
  • Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena: Dance sports, floorball, gymnastics, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war
  • BJCC Exhibit Halls: Billiard sports, ju-jitsu, karate, muaythai, powerlifting, sumo, women tug of war
  • Boutwell Auditorium: Billiard sports, dance sports, floorball, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war
  • Birmingham CrossPlex: Canoe, sport climbing, floorball, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, life saving, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war, underwater sports
  • Lakeshore Foundation: Canoe, floorball, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, life saving, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war, underwater sports
  • Legion Field: Flying disc, lacrosse
  • Oak Mountain State Park: Air sports, archery, canoe, sport climbing, handball, life saving, orienteering, outdoor roller sports, men tug of war, water ski
  • Railroad Park: Archery, boules sports, sport climbing, men tug of war
  • Regions Field: Fistball, handball, softball, men tug of war
  • Rickwood Field: Fistball, handball, softball, men tug of war
  • Samford University Arena: Dance sports, floorball, gymnastics, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war
  • Samford Stadium: Flying disc, lacrosse
  • Samford Softball: Fistball, handball, softball, men tug of war
  • Samford Soccer and Track: Boules sports, sport climbing, fistball, flying disc, handball, outdoor roller sports, men tug of war
  • Shelby County Airport: Air sports
  • Lightning Strikes-Trussville: Bowling
  • UAB Bartow Arena: Dance sports, floorball, gymnastics, ju-jitsu, karate, korfball, muaythai, netball, powerlifting, indoor roller sports, sumo, women tug of war
  • UAB Campus Recreation Center: Canoe, sport climbing, life saving, racquetball, underwater sports
  • UAB Softball: Fistball, handball, softball, men tug of war
  • YMCA-Downtown: Canoe, sport climbing, life saving, racquetball, squash, underwater sports
  • YMCA-Shades Valley: Canoe, life saving, racquetball, underwater sports

“Birmingham is really fortunate to have the venues we have,” Edgar Welden, co-chairman of the organizing committee and executive director of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, told local news source Village Living Online. “They’re outstanding, and the important thing is we don’t have to go spend money creating, building and investing in venues. We already have the venues we need.”

World Games officials were also happy because the city met expectations in terms of infrastructure, organizing skills and the support of the city administration and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Organizers have projected that a $75 million budget will be necessary to host the games, according to AL.com.

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