One week before the opening of the 2009 World Games in Taiwan, only 25 percent of the tickets have been sold, forcing organizers to look for ways to persuade people to buy them.
“Out of the 360,000 tickets, 25 percent have been sold, but the tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies are sold out,” Florian Anton Fehringer, press officer for the World Games Organizing Committee said yesterday.
“Out of the 31 sports, tickets for seven sports have been sold out,” he said. “They include dragon boat [racing], life saving and tug-of-war.”
To encourage people to attend events, to be held from next Thursday to July 26 in Kaohsiung, the committee is offering prizes in a lucky draw, including an apartment, a car, plane tickets and a night at a luxury hotel.
Some Kaohsiung schools have asked students to attend the games in exchange for extra school marks, triggering complaints from parents.
The World Games, held every four years, feature sports not included in the Olympic Games. They include martial arts, artistic roller skating, billiards and tug-of-war.
One reason for the lack of public interest is that most of the sports are unpopular or not well-known.
About 4,800 athletes from 105 countries and regions are expected to take part in the Games.
It is hoped that holding the World Games, the largest sports event ever hosted by Taiwan, will prepare the way for holding larger events like the World Student Games, the Asian Games or the Olympics.