Hurdle Cleared: Obstacle Racing Steps Closer to Olympic Sport Status


World Obstacle, the international sports federation for competitive obstacle racing, is officially one step closer to Olympic eligibility.

The 2024 Olympics may still be a few years away, but World Obstacle officials aren’t wasting any time between now and then. World Obstacle is the global governing body for competitive obstacle sports with the stated mission to promote obstacle sports throughout the world.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GSAIF) recently awarded the federation “observer status.” This GSAIF designation is an essential prerequisite that many Olympic-aspiring sports federations must attain before they can lobby for inclusion in the Olympics.

Observer status puts the organization and its various disciplines on track to later achieving full GSAIF membership.

Formally known as the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles (FISO), World Obstacle was founded in 2014 and formalized under a unifying council in 2018. The federation oversees disciplines like adventure racing, ninja, and, predictably, obstacle course racing. The United Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA) is considered the body’s official and unifying league.

But just because it has moved closer to the Olympics doesn’t mean obstacle racing is a shoe-in. As an observing member, World Obstacle joins more than a few other off-the-cuff sports federations, including:

  • World Dodgeball Association
  • Federation for International FootGolf
  • International Jump Rope Union
  • International Union of Kettlebell Lifting
  • Federation Internationale de Sand et Land Yachting
  • International Padel Federation
  • International Federation of Match Poker
  • International Pole Sports Federation
  • International Practical Shooting Confederation
  • International Rafting Federation
  • Rugby League International Federation
  • International Table Soccer Federation

Upon the federation’s acceptance into the GSAIF, World Obstacle president Ian Adamson released the following statement:

We are honoured to be awarded Observer Status by GAISF. This is a critical step in the growth of the sport globally. On behalf of World Obstacle, I would like to thank GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli, the GAISF Council and the entire GAISF family for their guidance and support. With this important step, we are motivated to continue the development of obstacle sports for our national federation members and their communities.

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