A last-minute change to the programme of the first edition of the World DanceSport Games will need to be made after the World Baton Twirling Federation (WBTF) has to withdraw from taking part.
WBTF finds itself unable to bring its contingent of athletes and officials to Kaohsiung under the terms that the City Government offers for compensation of the travel expenses.
In a January meeting between the government and representatives of the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) it was resolved that each participant in the World DanceSport Games 2013 would get his or her airfare and other travel expenses reimbursed upon arrival in the host city this September.
The fixed amounts to be reimbursed directly to the participants were established in a rate schedule drawn up for air travel from different points of departure. The formula was arrived at after thorough study of airfares as well as booking and payment procedures,
and it aims at minimising administrative efforts and associated fees.
The City of Kaohsiung allocates a capped amount of US$ 800,000 to bringing the athletes and officials to the games. Depending on their point of departure, participants will get between US$ 500 and US$ 1,500 reimbursed. However, they will need to make their own travel arrangements and purchase the tickets.
After considering this formula, WBTF notified WDSF that it could not ensure participation of all of its athletes under these terms and, consequently, that it had to withdraw the baton twirling events from the programme.
WBTF and WDSF regret that this development is bound to disappoint those athletes who were already planning on being in Kaohsiung this September. Both parties pledge to work towards including baton twirling into the programme of future editions of the World DanceSport Games.
In substitution of baton twirling, the Kaohsiung City Government and WDSF have agreed to include cheerleading events for the inaugural edition. Its addition to the programme stands to benefit public interest in the games too. Chinese Taipei regularly fields
very successful teams in championships organised by the International Federation of Cheerleading.