By Gary Anderson
July 22 - Preparations for the International World Games Association (IWGA) World Games in Cali are almost complete before Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos will officially declare the event open at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium, on Thursday (July 25).
The Games, which are held under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and whose President Jacques Rogge is due be present at the Opening Ceremony which will be attended by a crowd of 35,000, will see more than 4,500 athletes and officials from 101 nations taking part in the event which runs through until August 4.
Ron Froehlich, President of the IGWA, said: "The World Games have undergone an enormous development as a multi-sport event in the new millennium.
"The ninth edition will prove itself as an important milestone."
The first ever edition of the Games - the main international multi-sport event for sports or disciplines that are not contested at the Olympics but which aspire to be on the programme - was held in Santa Clara, California, in 1981 and this year's event will see 201 medal events in 26 official and five invitational sports contested across 25 venues.
Rugby sevens will be part of the Games programme for the final time this year as it prepares to make its Olympic debut at Rio 2016, while squash will be hoping to follow suit in 2020 following its campaign for Olympic inclusion.
Squash is bidding against baseball-softball and wrestling for inclusion on the 2020 Olympic programme and a final decision is due to be made at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires on September 8.
In 2011, Cali - the third largest city in Columbia with a population of just under three million - was a host city for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and also staged the 1971 Pan American Games.
Rodrigo Otoya, President of Cali 2013, said: "We want to present ourselves as good hosts and welcome the world of sport to Colombia."
Otoya went on to thank the more than 3,500 volunteers who will be on hand during the Games describing them as "the smiling face of our city and our country."
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