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  • Ahmed Saleh

The Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games: Unveiling the Final Five Exciting Combat Sports

The stage is set for the much-anticipated Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games, where the world's finest athletes will converge in the Saudi capital from October 20th to the 30th to showcase their prowess in 16 martial arts and combat sports. In a two-part series, we've already delved into the world of Karate, Boxing, Sambo, Sumo, Wushu, Judo, Wrestling, Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, Kickboxing, and Fencing. Now, let's unveil the final five combat sports making their appearance in Riyadh 2023: Armwrestling, Taekwondo, Savate, Muaythai, and Kendo. Prepare to be captivated by these exhilarating disciplines.

Armwrestling + Para Armwrestling – October 27-28 – KSU 3

A captivating newcomer to the World Combat Games, Armwrestling, and Para Armwrestling take center stage in Riyadh 2023. This sport, a true test of strength and sometimes endurance, sees two competitors locking hands with their elbows resting on a table. The first athlete to pin their opponent's arm to the surface emerges victorious.

Despite its apparent simplicity, Armwrestling is a deceptively intricate sport that demands not just raw power but also technique, strategy, experience, and passion. Its roots trace back over 2,000 years, with the modern version evolving in the 1950s and 1960s. The World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), founded in 1977 and boasting 90 members, hosts an annual World Championship.

Taekwondo – October 28-30 – KSU 1

Originating in Korea, Taekwondo, a full-contact sport, has gained global prominence and Olympic recognition since 2000. Riyadh 2023 will feature two distinct disciplines of Taekwondo: Kyorugi (Mixed Gender Team) and Poomsae (Men, Women, Pairs). Kyorugi is a sparring discipline, pitting two individuals or teams against each other, while Poomsae focuses on non-sparring, showcasing a series of movements displaying offensive and defensive techniques against imaginary opponents.

Dr. Chungwon Choue, President of World Taekwondo, expressed their delight at Taekwondo's third appearance in the World Combat Games, emphasizing its role in promoting discipline, respect, and tolerance. The event promises to bring fans worldwide together to witness elite combat sport's diversity and spectacle.

Savate + Para Savate – October 28-30 – KSU 5

Savate, a traditional French combat sport, distinguishes itself with its emphasis on kicking and striking techniques. Unlike kickboxing or muaythai, Savate's unique twist involves fighters wearing shoes and delivering long-range kicks exclusively with their feet, omitting the use of knees, shins, clinching, or grappling. The essence of Savate lies in "touching without being touched," relying on mobility and precision.

At Riyadh 2023, athletes will compete in men's and women's Savate and Canne de Combat (Individual, Wheelchair, and Team). Canne de Combat, a discipline evolving alongside Savate in the early 19th century, emphasizes agility, coordination, and graceful movements, using wooden canes for striking.

Dr. Julie Gabriel, President of the Fédération Internationale de Savate (FISav), highlights the power of sports in uniting people and fostering positive change in the world. The World Combat Games provide a platform for athletes to showcase their passion for Savate and Canne de Combat.

Muaythai + Para Muaythai – October 28-30 – KSU 2

Muaythai, the ancient martial art renowned as the "science of eight limbs," blends tradition and spectator appeal. Practitioners employ eight points of contact—fists, shins, knees, and elbows—to execute strikes. At Riyadh 2023, Muaythai promises inclusivity with five disciplines, including the debut of Para Muaythai.

Elite combat division athletes at Riyadh have endured a grueling 2-year qualification process to secure their spots at the World Combat Games. The event will feature an enthralling round-robin format, with Wai Kru and Mai Muay disciplines as full medal events.

Kendo – October 29-30 – KSU

Kendo, a Japanese martial art, involves practitioners wearing protective armor (kendo-gu) featuring a mask (men), gauntlets (kote), torso protector (do), and lower body protector (tare). Athletes wield bamboo swords (shinai) for one-on-one combat, aiming to score valid strikes against their opponents.

Kendo embodies Japanese culture and places significant emphasis on etiquette. Practitioners continually train to cultivate their spirit and enhance their bodies in their pursuit of self-perfection. Over 60 kendoka from around the world will participate in men's and women's individual competitions, as well as men's and women's Kendo Master Demonstrations. This promises to be a spectacle that should not be missed.

As the Riyadh 2023 World Combat Games draw closer, the anticipation for these final five combat sports builds. These disciplines, each with their unique charm and history, are set to electrify audiences and celebrate the spirit of competition on a global stage. Don't miss the chance to witness the culmination of years of dedication and training by the world's elite combat athletes.

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