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Movie World
Parachuting at the 6th World Games in Akita, Japan

Castle Beck
Beachhandball was a demonstration sport at the 6th World Games in Akita

In 1980 a group of 12 International Sports Federations decided to join forces by forming the World Games Council, later to be renamed the International World Games Association (IWGA). The founding meeting was chaired by IOC Executive Board Member Dr. Un Youg Kim, who is also the President of the International Taekwondo Federation. The purpose of the new organization was to create a multisport event for sports (and/or disciplines of sports) not included in the programme of the Olympic Games. This aimed at, among other things, creating more exposure in the media and increased interest from spectators, which would assist the Federations in developing their sports. This initiative came during an era when international sports, including the Olympic Games, were yet to become the great television success - and thus the sponsoring venture - they are today.

The 12 International Sports Federations mentioned were:
1. International Badminton Federation (IBF)
2. International Baseball Federation (AINBA)
3. International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB)
4. International Bowling Federation (FIQ)
5. International Casting Federation (ICF)
6. International Softball Federation (ISF)
7. World Union of Karate-do Organization (WUKO)
8. International Powerlifting Federation (IPF)
9. International Roller Skating Federation (FIRS)
10. World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)
11. Tug of War International Federation (TWIF)
12. World Water Ski Union (WWSU)

Now about 20 years later, Badminton, Baseball, Softball, and Teakwondo are no longer involved in the IWGA and the World Games as they are now - provisionally or otherwise - included in the programme of the Olympic Games. In the meantime also other sports, Beach Volleyball, Triathlon, Women's Waterpolo, Women's Weightlifting and individual trampolining, were once included in the programme for the World Games event(s) but are now also part of the Olympic Games.

The numbers of sports and participants at the 1st World Games through the 6th World Games are shown in the box below.

  Year Host Sports Participants
1st 1981 Santa Clara (USA) 18 approx. 1,500
2nd 1985 London (GBR) 23 approx. 2,000
3rd 1989 Karlsruhe (GER) 45 approx. 4,000
4th 1993 The Hague (NED) 30 approx. 2,600
5th 1997 Lahti (FIN) 30 approx. 2,500
6th 2001 Akita (JPN) 26 approx. 2,500

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