UN games open Wednesday in Nassau
An international contingent of more than 1,000 current and former United Nations staffers and their families will convene in Nassau County beginning Wednesday to compete in an Olympic-style competition in events ranging from flag football to chess.
The 41st annual United Nations Inter-Agency Games take place Wednesday through Sunday at Hofstra University, Eisenhower Park and the county's Mitchel Field Athletic Complex.
Event chairwoman Cristina Silva said some UN employees train all year for the games while others compete for fun.
The goal, she said, is to allow colleagues from across the UN system to get to know each other through sports and recreational activities.
"It's an opportunity to bring everyone together and promote communication through sport," Silva said.
The event features representatives of 104 nations competing in up to 21 sports, including football, golf, swimming, darts, cricket, basketball, bridge and badminton.
This year's games are the first to be held in the United States. In recent years, the event has been held in Austria, France and Spain.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said the games "will generate over $2.5 million for our local economy through hotel stays, restaurant visits, transportation, retail purchases and more."
Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said 4,300 room nights have been booked at county hotels for the competition. For example, representatives of 32 nations including Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will stay at the Garden City Hotel during the event.
The revenue figures come from a fiscal analysis performed by the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The opening ceremony will be held Wednesday night at Hofstra's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex and will feature musical and dance performances by university students.