Inclusivity takes centre stage as 2023 World Combat Games kick off in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games are officially under way following a spellbinding Opening Ceremony that spoke of the universal and inclusive nature of the 16 martial arts and combat sports participating in the 11-day event.

The ceremony focused heavily on the 1,500+ athletes from 120+ countries set to compete at Riyadh 2023, in particular the exceptionally talented para athletes representing Para Aikido, Para Armwrestling, Para Ju-Jitsu, Para Muaythai, Para SAMBO, Para Savate.

An introduction of the International Federations and their athletes was followed by an extraordinary exhibition of athletic and artistic ability, including a jaw-dropping wheelchair performance that perfectly encapsulated the sport-for-all spirit of the event.

Results from the para competitions will be added to a single, unified medals table at Riyadh 2023 along with those from athletes competing in Aikido, Armwrestling, Boxing, Fencing, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Kendo, Kickboxing, Muaythai, SAMBO, Savate, Sumo, Taekwondo, Wrestling And Wushu.

“This event brings together not only the champions of champions, but also the champions of all abilities, to celebrate a moment of sport which is built on inclusion, non-discrimination, equality – values that are now, in a world of uncertainty, more important than ever,” SportAccord President Ivo Ferriani told the assembled crowd.

The Opening Ceremony also highlighted the cultural, historical, and artistic appeal of the host city and country, and further underscored Saudi Arabia’s growing influence as a world-class destination for major sporting events.

“The Kingdom now stands as a shining beacon, captivating global attention as it hosts some of the world’s most distinguished international sports competitions, a testament to the unwavering support of our esteemed leadership,” said HH Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed, the Vice President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee. “To all participants, I proudly proclaim: the arena lies before you, providing a golden opportunity to showcase your abilities. Embrace the competitive spirit, harness your talents, and stand as exemplary ambassadors for your nations on this international stage.”

The World Combat Games will see the best athletes in 16 combat sports and martial arts competing for podium places from 20-30 October, all under one roof at the King Saud University Arena and Sports Hall.

The competition kicked off in style today with Karate, Boxing, and Sambo getting the show started.

For more information, including results and broadcast details, visit the official websites of the World Combat Games and Riyadh 2023.