Westfield will host the U.S. Ninja National Championships and Ninja World Cup this fall at the Grand Park Sports Complex, officials have announced.
The event will take place Oct. 7-9 at the complex, where a press conference was held earlier this month with representatives from the ninja sport and the Hamilton County Sports Authority.
The national championships and the Ninja World Cup are being produced by Fitness Innovations and the ATS Team in collaboration with the Ninja Passport and NinjaUSA, the national governing body for ninja and events in the United States. NinjaUSA is a member of the USA Pentathlon Multisport and World Obstacle, according to its website.
“I’m excited to be a part of the team producing the first Ninja World Cup in the United States,” said George O’Dell, founder of NinjaUSA. “There is strong demand from athletes who want to see the sport progress and have a pathway (to) the highest level of international sport competitions. As the U.S. championships, we provide qualification for the national team to represent the United States in international sport competitions.”
The Ninja World Cup series will include races in Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania and culminates in the 2023 Ninja World Championships. Dates and locations will be announced in the coming months, according to officials.
The World Cup format is a 100-meter head-to-head speed competition like the “Ninja vs. Ninja” and “Team Ninja Warrior” television shows.
The first U.S. team will be determined at the U.S. Ninja National Championships and Ninja World Cup, said Karen Radcliff, director of the Hamilton County Sports Authority.
“It brings a world spotlight for the area,” Radcliff said. “It is a privilege and opportunity for us.”
Jeff Piejak, who founded Ultimate Ninjas Chicago in 2016, said he’s looking forward to this fall and noted that the ninja sport continues to grow.
“It’s really been an amazing journey to see a sport evolve,” Piejak said.
The event should bring a greater awareness for the sport as well, said Jess Wombles, a Greenwood resident who attends Center Grove High School. Wombles, 15, is the first female teenager from Indiana to compete on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and also appeared on the third season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior” last year.
“It’ll bring a whole new batch of people,” Wombles said. “I’m really excited to see where this announcement takes us.”