(ATR) A series of tournaments in the United States is helping teqball make inroads in an important market.
The inaugural all-women's Challenger Cup was held in Los Angeles in December. (FITEQ)
The sport, a combination of soccer and table tennis played with a soccer ball on a curved table, was invented in 2012. It is played with either two (singles) or four (doubles) players.
The current series of Challenger Cups in the U.S., which began in September, are doubles events. Las Vegas hosted a men’s tournament in November 2020 and a mixed doubles event earlier this month. In between, Los Angeles played host to the first-ever all-women’s Challenger Cup in December.
Carolyn Greco and Margaret Osmundson won gold in the inaugural women's event.
“This tournament was such a special day. Personally, it was emotional for me to see this historic Challenger Cup come to fruition," Greco said.
The duo had finished runners-up in the men's event in November and had been fourth at the previous two men's tournaments in San Diego in September and Houston in October.
The next Challenger Cup is January 31 in Sacramento, California before the series heads to the eastern part of the United States with stops in New Jersey and Virginia next month.
The podium for the FITEQ Challenger Cup mixed doubles event in January (FITEQ)
The efforts by USA Teqball are not lost on FITEQ, the International Federation of Teqball.
“We’re impressed with the recent Challenger Cups held in the US and we’re looking forward to the events in the coming weeks,” FITEQ General Secretary Marius Vizer Jr. tells Around the Rings.
"We’re grateful for the efforts of USA Teqball in ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in the tournament, with each event being organized within the local safety guidelines of each city.”
“The US market represents a significant opportunity for our sport to engage with millions of passionate players and fans. USA Teqball is working extremely hard to develop teqball at both the grassroots and professional levels and they are providing more and more opportunities for US players and fans to enjoy the world’s fastest-growing sport.”
It is hard to argue against the claim that teqball is “the world’s fastest-growing sport”.
FITEQ was established in 2017 and was officially recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in August 2018, and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) in June 2019.
FITEQ is targeting IOC recognition for the sport. (FITEQ)
In January 2020, FITEQ was granted observer status by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and in November became the 96th full member of GAISF.
By April of 2020, FITEQ had grown from four members to 51 in two years. The number of member federations has nearly doubled to 95 since then.
FITEQ chairman Viktor Huszar, speaking at the federation’s first virtual annual assembly on Dec. 12, said that developing the sport and gaining IOC recognition are the main goals moving forward.
Given the meteoric rise of the sport to this point, it appears a case of not if but when for IOC recognition.
Content presented by the International Federation of Teqball
Homepage photo: FITEQ
Written by Gerard Farek
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