April 7 - Japan's Kansai region will host the 2021 World Masters Games following an announcement by the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) at their General Assembly here today.
The event will mark the first time the Games have travelled to Japan, or even Asia, marking a historic period for the country with the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled for Tokyo in 2020.
During the Assembly, Motonobu Murakami, secretary general of the Preparatory Committee of the 2021 Kansai World Masters Games spoke of his gratitude towards the IMGA Executive for their support during bidding procedure.
"Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to speak to you," said Murakami.
"I would like express my appreciation to the (International Masters Games Association) IMGA team for visiting the Kensai region last November.
"It was with great pleasure and honour that at the end of the investigation Kensai was officially announced as the host region of the World Masters Games 2021.
"The decision was heralded with great joy throughout Japan with the news that Tokyo was to host the Olympics in 2020.
World Masters Games is an international sports event for the middle-aged and elderly with the minimum age for entry ranged between 25 and 35 depending on the sport.
First established in 1985, Games are held every four years in principle.
Since the inaugural competition in Toronto in 1985, the Games have developed into the largest of its kind, in terms of competitors, with almost 20,000 athletes across 100 countries having competed at the 2013 event in Turin.
During his speech, Murakami claimed the 2021 will provide "significant opportunities" for not just Japan but the World Games and participants themselves.
He explained that the Games will provide opportunities for the "radically ageing population of Japan" to participate in a major sporting event, whilst also allowing the IMGA to popularise itself across Japan and Asia as a whole.
The Games, according to Murakami, will also giving "foreign" athletes the opportunity to travel to a region they would never usually be given the chance visit, with many locals able to compete in a major sporting event for the first time.
The exact dates of the 2021 Games are still unknown, however it will most likely run across a 10-day period, during which approximately 30 sports events will be held.
The next summer edition of the World Masters Games are due take place in Auckland, New Zealand, in April 2017.
A Winter World Masters Games are also scheduled in Quebec City, Canada, in 2015.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]