Teqball World Championships Highlight Path to Olympic Inclusion

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The sport is heading towards its goal of being included in the 2028 Olympics, and competition intensifies as athletes begin to take their Teq game to the next level.

In December, the best Teqballers from around the world traveled to Gliwice, Poland for the World Teqball Championships. Men and women had to qualify in specific categories in their home country in order to participate in the tournament.

To spectators, Teqball looks like an odd combination of football and table tennis, with up to four players circling a curved table, volleys, and swing the ball back and forth.

This year’s World Championships was an opportunity for a handful of athletes to defend their 2019 titles. For others, the cancellation of last year’s tournament amid the pandemic provided an extra year to train and aim to bring home their country’s very first Teqball title.

Throughout the four days of the tournament, which ran from December 8-11, the energy in the arena was at its peak as the athletes literally left their blood, sweat and tears on the field in front of crowds of up to 1,500 people, according to the official Teqball website. FITEQ.

READ: Meet BellaTeq, The First All-Women Teqball Team Hoping To Mark A ‘New Era’ For The Sport

The Teq effect

Curiosity makes people stop and watch a Teqball game at a table, but for those with a competitive spirit, the sport offers an irresistible challenge to jump in and play.

Those who do find it quickly that once started, it is difficult to tear yourself away from it.

Participants do not need to have previous athletic experience to play Teqball, but to achieve a competitive level, every touch and every attack requires precision and planning.

The complexity of the rules requires a combination of skill and strategy to be successful, and seasoned players spend hours at the table each day perfecting and refining their serves, smashes and returns.

Women in teq

This year saw the exciting launch of the women’s singles and doubles competitions, in addition to the men’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles competitions, bringing the total number of categories to five.

Out of 32 countries vying for the top five places, only three won gold: Hungary, Brazil and Serbia.

Hungary’s Anna Izsak became the first person to win the women’s singles event, beating Poland’s Paulina Lezak to win the gold medal. The match ended almost before it really started, with Izsak storming Lezak in a comfortable straight-set victory.

All eyes were on the highly anticipated women’s doubles final as the United States faced Brazil for a chance to make tournament history. American Carolyn Greco beat returning Brazilian champion Natalia Guitler for third in the singles competition the day before, but Brazil had revenge in mind as Guitler and partner Rafaella Fontes beat Greco and Margaret Osmundson in three. stormy sets for gold.

Guitler said the victory was a dream come true for her and Fontes, adding that they had worked hard all year to prepare, despite difficult conditions in Brazil due to a lack of Teqball structure.

READ: Ronaldinho explains his love for Teqball

Guitler is the former mixed doubles world champion and the most recognized woman in Teqball to date. Fontes has proven to be an extremely formidable partner, as the 19-year-old has won numerous teqball titles in Brazil and is known for her success in Brazilian football.

Osmundson said the American duo were hoping for better results: “We realize this is our first competition so we’re thankful for the experience of being able to represent our country and ultimately come away with gear, but we’re always going to hunt more for. next year.”

Osmundson and Greco founded the world’s first all-female Teqball club in Los Angeles, the BellaTeq. They said they would go straight back to work when they got home, and Greco said their goal would be to continue paving the way for female Teqball athletes around the world.
Brazilians Natalia Guitler and Rafaella Fontes beat the United States to become world champions in the women's doubles

Global growth

Teqball is relatively new – it’s only seven years old – but the sport has seen tremendous growth across the world, according to United States National Teqball Federation President Ajay Nwosu, who said he there were thousands of athletes now playing in 118 countries.

The sport hails from Budapest, Hungary, and the founding country came out on top with three gold medals in men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles at the World Championships.

Ádám Blázsovics became three-time world champion in Teqball, with Izsak winning the first gold in women’s singles. Csaba Bányik and Zsanett Janicsek won gold in mixed doubles, beating Brazilians Leonardo Lindoso and Vania Moraes Da Cruz in a close match.

Serbia took first place in the men’s doubles with 2018 champions Bogdan Marjevic and Nikola Mitro beating Romanians Apor Gyorgydeak and Szabolcs Ilyes.

Although they are among the new faces of the tournament, the United States has been on the podium twice in the women’s events.

Nwosu said he was happy and proud of the USA team for the way they have performed this year: “We have grown a lot in the space of just two years since the sport was adopted in the United States. United. Next year certainly we hope to be back on the podium with a few more gold medals. ”

The 2021 teqball world champions

Vision for the future of Teqball

The Teqball federation calls itself the fastest growing sport in the world, according to their website FITEQ. Co-founder and chairman Viktor Huszár is quoted on the website as saying that Teqball is a “green tick” when it comes to the International Olympic Committee’s indicators for introducing new sports into the Olympic program.

The federation aims to have Teqball participate in the Olympics by the time the Games are held in Los Angeles in 2028. The growth seen in California and the United States over the past two years is a positive sign that the sport is going in. the right way. .

FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are among the many European clubs that have Teq tables. Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappé, Roberto Carlos and John Terry are some of the current and former players who have their own personalized tables.

FC Bayern Munich hosted a competition between some of the club’s players, while David Beckham played a game against his son, Romeo, at an Inter Miami CF Teq table.

“You don’t need a lot of players, it’s not an expensive sport. All you need is a table. You can put it in the park, the beach, and it works.” , said Huszár.



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