With the World Games starting on Thursday, here is part two of our alphabetical summary of all you need to know about the 10-day sporting extravaganza.
M — Mascots
As usual with mascots, Gao Mei (高妹, literally “tall girl”) and Syong Ge (雄哥, “brave boy”) look as if they’ve been designed by a three-year-old on Ritalin. According to the marketing blurb Gao and Syong, whose names together form the name of the host city, are: “the shape of water droplets and translucent, the two water spirits personify Kaohsiung as a city of the sea and the sun.” Their halos absorb solar energy like the roof of the main stadium and “illuminate with a message of ecology and environmental protection.” Yeah, right.
PHOTO: HUNG TING-HUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
N — Ninety-nine
Ninety-nine countries were to be represented in Kaohsiung (now it’s 105).
O — Olympics approved
PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES
The World Games is under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee and the IWGA abides by all principles of the Olympic Charter.
P — Pollution
Kaohsiung is an industrial city and surrounded by several steel works and oil refineries. Although its pollution problems are serious, they are thankfully nowhere near the level of last year’s Olympic host Beijing, so motorists can relax. Nevertheless, the Kaohsiung Organizing Committee still had to drain Lotus Lake — where the water-skiing, dragon boat racing and canoe polo will take place — after plans to clean up the lake’s algae problem using fish failed.
Around 850,000 tonnes of fresh water will have been pumped into the lake ahead of the Games to bring the water quality up to a standard fit for water sports.
Q — Quadrennial
Just like their more famous counterpart the Olympics, the World Games are held every four years.
R — Russia
If recent World Games are the yardstick, then the Russians will be the team to beat in Kaohsiung, having topped the medals table for the last two Games in Duisburg in 2005 and Akita in 2001.
S — Slogan
The official slogan of the World Games is “THE WORLD GAMES: 30+ SPORTS AT THEIR BEST!”
T — Tickets
Selling tickets is often a problem for the hosts of big sporting events and the Kaohsiung World Games is no exception. According to reports on July 8, only about 25 percent of tickets for the Games had been sold. A face-saving mass ticket giveaway may be in the offing.
U — Underused?
Although the main stadium is impressive, apart from the opening and closing ceremonies, it will only be used for the Rugby Sevens and Frisbee events. Let’s hope this inspiring piece of architecture is put to good use after the Games and does not become a gigantic white elephant (or should that be “white dragon”?).
V — Venues
Unlike the Olympics, the World Games host city isn’t required to build facilities or extend upon available infrastructure for the sake of hosting the Games. But Kaohsiung still built a brand new stadium. Twenty-three venues will be used in total, including Kaohsiung Swimming Pool (fin swimming and life saving), Kaohsiung Senior High School Gymnasium (Sumo) and Siziwan (beach handball, life saving).
W — Weather
With the average high this month well above 30ºC and humidity hovering at 75 percent, athletes not used to competing in such conditions for outdoor events such as orienteering and rugby could struggle.
X — Exchanges
Sports are regularly exchanged between the Olympics and the World Games. The World Games serve as a breeding ground for Olympic sports and also picks up sports rejected from the Olympics. The triathlon started off in the World Games before becoming an Olympic sport in 2000, as did taekwondo. Similarly, sports that get kicked off the Olympic roster end up in the World Games. Softball will feature in Kaohsiung just a year after getting bumped from the Olympics.
Y — You
The World Games are a great opportunity for Taiwan and Kaohsiung to grab some positive news coverage. However, the games will only be a success if everyone gets involved, so if you have some spare time get yourself down to Kaohsiung.
Z — Zuoying
The location of the main stadium and Lotus Lake, Zuoying, is one of the city’s 11 administrative districts and is also home to Taiwan’s largest naval base.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first