Igniting the fire of friendship and uniting the world through sports.– UWG Vision Statement
MORE THAN A TOURNAMENT
The UNITED WORLD GAMES are more than a tournament. The Games are counted among Europe’s finest and most popular youth sports events, attracting thousands of young people from all across the globe year after year.
The UWG are an annual major event under the patronage of the UNESCO, which has been growing and developing ever since its inaugural edition in the year of 2005. Over the years however, the United World Games have transcended the event and turned into a global movement and community on top of it. UWG is emblematic for the many positive values and dimensions attached to sport: respect, fairplay, responsibility, cooperation, teamwork, exchange and friendship, exercise and health.
One World – A thousand Friends
The heart of the UWG are international friendship and cultural exchange through sports. Each and every one of our participants – be it former or future, be it as a player, a coach, a volunteer or a referee – is part of the UWG family.
We connect the youth of the world through sport as their common passion. The unique atmosphere of the UWG creates unforgettable moments for our participants, while at the same time the Games provide a platform to meet and get to know people from different parts of the world, making new friends and building contacts and networks for exchange. The enjoyment of sport and the open-minded encounter of cultures are the core of the Games.
Besides the tournaments an extensive side program provides fun and entertainment for all participants. The combination of great state-of-the-art venues such as Klagenfurt’s EURO 2008 Stadium (as so called “Players Town” the center of the Games), the gorgeous location in the midst of Carinthia’s stunningly beautiful lakeland scenery and the international character of the major event adds up to a unique flair and offers our participants the perfect mix of sports, exchange, adventure and vacation.
UWG STANDS FOR...
- … a modern, top class and well run multi sports event for children and youngsters, that combines international freindship, cultural exchange, love for sports and values such as tolerance and fairplay.
- … a global community and the power of sports, to have a positive impact both on society as well as on the individual.
- … social responsibility and an overarching positive outlook on life connected to sports, health and respectful interacion with all fellow human beings.
- … honest and high quality event tradition, tight collaboration with strong local and regional partners and personal participant service.
EVENT FACTS - THE UNITED WORLD GAMES IN A NUTSHELL
- Big scale international Games for the youth of the world
- Under patronage of the UNESCO
- Thousands of athletes from 40 nations
- More than 800 teams
- More than 30 sports venues
- EURO 2008 Arena (Wörthersee Stadium) as main location (our so called Players Town)
- Tournaments in 16 sports: Athletics, Basketball, Beachvolleyball, Bouldering, Field Hockey, Floorball, Handball, Ice Hockey, Orienteering, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Softball, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee & Volleyball
- 4 days packed with sports, fun and action
- Extensive side programme to enable interaction
- Unique location in the heart of Europe and Carinthia’s breathtaking lake landscape
- Large Players Town with an entertainment area, lounges, karaoke etc.
- Great choice of tasty yet healthy and well-balanced food at the International Food Court
- Various possibilities for day trips and activities in the surrounding area
Host and organiser of the event is the non-profit organisation United World Games with its Organising Committee made up of sports enthusiasts, committed officials of clubs and federations as well as numerous highly motivated volunteers. The Games are being organised in close and long-standing cooperation with the City of Klagenfurt and the Province of Carinthia, whose support is essential for the event. One of the most important event partners is furthermore Carinthia Tourism (Kärnten Werbung). For the coordination of our various sports tournaments the OC relies on local clubs as well as regional and national federations.
In June 2019 the United World Games celebrated their 15 year anniversary, reason enough to take a look into the past and on the eventful history of our Games. With pride and joy we can reminisce about 15 years UWG, one and a half decade full of exciting competitions, continously growing popularity and interest, countless unique stories und unforgettable memories.
We are grateful that you, our fantastic and beloved participants, have gone on this breathtaking journey with us, and we can’t wait for the start of the next UWG. Our community is growing with each year and yet we still have big plans. We want to keep on building bridges and celebrate the positive and unifying power of sports, promoting respect and fairplay.
How it all started…
In the year 2004 a team of young and sports enthusiastic people decided to take a rather small regional sports event, which was primarily designed for Austrians, to a whole new international level. It took an entire year to prepare and organise this international event and even more time was spent on the phone just to call and invite teams from all over Europe. The concept of Youth Games with an Olympic atmosphere and a strong focus on fun and personal intercultural encounters even off the fields, seemed to appeal to everyone right away.
2005 – The success story begins
The first edition of the UWG in 2005 brought together 500 athletes from 12 different nations in Klagenfurt right away. Four wonderful days were spent and the citizens of Klagenfurt just couldn’t believe their eyes when the city centre was transformed into a big open-air disco by a crowd of happy and smiling athletes. All participants agreed: It had been a successful festival with a lot of new friends, which should not be missed in the years to come.
2006 – Here come the Americans
No sooner said than done: 90% of the first edition’s participants showed up again at the UWG 2006 and many new faces joined them. In total more than 2.500 athletes from 17 different nations (including the USA) took part this time. No longer could the city centre hold that many people and so Klagenfurt’s exhibition centre had to serve as Players Town. Once again the big international UWG family spent four exciting and action packed days together.
2007 – Two locations
Due to the massive interest and demand the United World Games 2007 were held in two Austrian cities – Klagenfurt and Vienna. Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball tournaments were played in Klagenfurt, whereas 5 more disciplines were featured at the Vienna edition (Baseball, Bowling, Swimming, Tennis and Wrestling). 2007 saw a turnout of over 5.000 participating athletes.
2008 – Under the sign of the EURO 2008
In 2008 the United World Games returned to Klagenfurt as its sole host city and the date was set from the 19th to the 22nd of June – right in the middle of the EURO 2008 Soccer Championship. After the three group matches of the UEFA competition in the brandnew Wörthersee Stadium, it was mainly the UWG participants who brought international flair to the capital of Carinthia. The date was perfect as it allowed the UWG athletes to experience both events first hand.
2009 – Doping? No way! Handball? All the way!
The United World Games 2009 spotlighted doping prevention. Even though most of our participants are quite young to be confronted with the subject, one can’t start early enough to teach athletes awareness and inform them about prevention measures. Informative age-based brochures provided by our partner UNESCO were handed out to all participating teams in order to point out the dangers of doping. Additionally, Handball was introduced as the fourth official sport and the first international Handball tournament in the history of the Games turned out to be a huge success right away.
2010 – New attendance record – new nations
Months before the start of the Games there were already many signs that indicated that 2010 should bring a new attendance record. And sure enough, in 2010 more young athletes than ever joined our event at the beautiful lake Wörthersee. And there were even new participating countries – such as India, which sent two Basketball teams to the UWG 2010. Another very special highlight were the official UWG cheerleaders who did not just rock our venues but also broke one or two hearts. The new main location of the Games – Klagenfurt’s EURO Stadium – turned out to be the ideal venue just as everyone had hoped.
2011 – Even more sports with the introduction of Fistball and Tennis
2011 had many suprises in store for the participants. For the first time in the history of the Games an international Fistball tournament was held and many young talents took part. It turned out to be an ideal showcase opportunity for the sport, which is played in many countries, but not yet known to many people. Overall more than 4.000 athletes participated in the United World Games 2011.
2012 – Welcome Palestine, Canada and Indonesia
More than 4.500 participants joined the United World Games 2012, held from June 21 – 24. With Indonesia, Canada and Palestine there were three newcomers among the starting countries. A memorable highlight was the appearance of Austrian singer and Idol winner Conny Mooswalder at the Opening Ceremony.
2013 – Two new sports, the UWG family keeps growing
It’s another record! As in all the years before, the United World Games grew even bigger in 2013 as well, almost 6.000 participants travelled to Klagenfurt from near and far to be part of the 9th edition of the Games. 2013 witnessed the introduction of Rugby and Fieldhockey as two new sports, both being major hits and enriching the UWG with exciting tournaments. But also offside the playing fields there were novelties, such as the Gala Evening for parents, sponsors and partners of the Games.
2014 – The Games grow bigger and more professional
Once again the organizers were able to enter a new record into the books as participant numbers broke through the 6.000 barrier at the UWG 2014. Several new nations could be welcomed at the Games, among them South Africa and Luxembourg. Both at the various sports tournaments and off the field as well there were numerous innovations and improvements. The tournament coordination and side events such as the big Opening Ceremony were optimised and expanded.
2015 – More sports, more side events, more nations, more UWG
Alongside the continuously rising participant numbers, the 11th edition of the United World Games also saw further additions to the range of featured sports. The introduction of Orienteering and Swimming meant that no less than 9 different sports were on show, with both of the new competitions being a huge success and drawing new members from Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and Portugal into the UWG family. Additionally, the side program of the Games grew once more as well, with the advent of the Basketball Scouting Clinics with coaches from the US or the Soccer Coaching Exchange Workshop. 6.500 participants celebrated another festival of sports and exchange on the shores of lake Wörthersee.
2016 – Kenya, Brazil and Mongolia enter the Games, Athletics is introduced
For the first time the United World Games welcomed over 8.000 participants in Klagenfurt. Besides the new participation record the organizers were excited to host three new nations at the Games. Soccer teams from Brazil, the U16 Basketball national teams from Mongolia, as well as teams from Kenya travelled to Austria in June.
Like in the years before a new sport was added to the UWG. Hundreds of athletes participated in various Athletics competitions.
2017 – Hello Chile, Hello Denmark, Hello Morocco, Hello Floorball
The 13th edition of the Games saw the 13th participant record with more than 9.000 people from 35 nations taking part. A UWG fanzone in the city centre of Klagenfurt was introduced, where a mobile open air Basketball court was set up right next to the “Lindwurm” (Klagenfurt’s landmark and symbol) to host a large number of games. Another new sport was featured: Floorball premiered successfully and got its own centre in Villach. Once more, new nations were welcomed at the Games: Chile, Denmark and Morocco.
2018 – 1 new nation, 2 new sports and 10.000 participants
For the first time in the history of the United World Games multiple delegations from China participated in the event. No less than 250 Chinese athletes competed in Klagenfurt. With Ice Hockey and Ice Stock Sport the first winter sports were successfully introduced at the Games. Futhermore, a long aspired goal was finally reached: 10.000 participants!
2019 – 15 years UWG: anniversary Games a huge success
To fit the occasion of our 15 year anniversary the number of featured sports matched the years of the event’s existence, with the debutants Ultimate Frisbee, Beachvolleyball and Bouldering not only appealing to athletes and spectators alike but also adding exciting locations such as the newly opened climbing hall of the Naturfreunde Kärnten or the Beachvolleyball courts of the University of Klagenfurt to our venues. Colombia, Estonia and the Republic of Moldova joined the list of participating nations, a list which had grown to an impressive size over the years. Together with 30 other nations they celebrated the 15th birthday of the United World Games, a splendid festivity very much in line with the official event motto “One world – a thousand friends”.
2020 – Cancellation of the United World Games
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic UWG 2020 had to be cancelled. In March it became clear that an event of this magnitude would not be able to happen. Thanks to the support of partners, sponsors and the whole UWG family, the survival of the event could be secured though and so in 2021 the UWG will unite young people from all over the world again in Klagenfurt, Austria.
2021 – Cancellation of the United World Games
Also in 2021 the UWG had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a wide variety of event plans, a safe event could not be guaranteed for the 2nd year in a row. Signs are growing, however, that UWG will return next year.
2022 – Comeback: Perseverance pays off
After the 2-year break, the United World Games finally took place again in 2022. 6,000 participants from 25 nations celebrated the great comeback of youth sports. Bright faces, new friendships, high-class and fair competitions as well as an impressive opening ceremony will be remembered for a long time. 3 new nations could be welcomed in Klagenfurt: Israel, Denmark & Liechtenstein.
Head of Sports and Marketing
Ever since he started working at the UWG in 2012 Alex has been a vital part of the Organising Team. Together with Clemens he is responsible for the coordination of our sports competitions as well as for inviting and acquiring teams and raising the popularity and profile of the event. He communicates with teams, referees, staff, sports venues and our various tournament directors and as our Roadshow veteran he carries the UWG spirit out into world. Alex is our Mr. Reliable and as a huge sports enthusiast with a love for languages and cultures his part in the development of the Games is an essential one.
Head of media and chairlady
As our Head of Media Lisi not only continously supplies the national as well as the international press with information, she also looks after our sponsors, local partners and supporters of the Games. She plans and coordinates our big Opening Ceremony, takes good care of filming teams and photographers, welcomes and hosts our VIP guests and on top of that she also finds time to ensure that all our livestreams are up and running during the event. Lisi handles all of that with a smile on her face and an uncompromisingly positive attitude, which transfers to everyone around her.
Head Of Finance & Tennis
Our Sebi is the prime example for determination and commitment: He went from participant in the UWG Tennis tournament to volunteer, from volunteer to intern, from intern to full grown member of the Organising Team. Nowadays Sebi is the mastermind of all financial matters. In addition he is the tournament director and Head of our Tennis competition (coming full circle). Generally you will find Sebi on a Tennis court most of the time – if he’s not coaching kids or driving his opponents to despair in championship games, he is most likely teaching one of his UWG colleagues a lesson! 😉
All of our Hungarian participants know him well – since 2012 Istvan is always there for them and takes care of their every wish and need. It is thanks to him that in each of the last couple of years more than 1.000 sportsloving Hungarian travelled to the UWG and were well looked after there. As an UWG veteran Istvan is not only involved in acquiring and administering teams, but also in the tournament coordination on site at the event. The Miskolc native is an expert for all things sport and nutrition as well as for history and politics, and on top of that he is an absolute team player.
Founder and President
Franziskus „Fifi” Bertl represents the Games in official capacity as the president of our organisation, especially in the USA, where he manages our North American Chapter. Franziskus is one of the founding members and he is involved in areas such as international relations, global marketing, staff relations and VIP hosting. He likes to put on his lederhosen and entertain our athletes at the Oktoberfest.