Teqball eyes 2032 Brisbane Olympics, but plans to conquer Malaysia first

The Malaysia Teqball Association (MTA) will hold its inaugural league in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, this weekend, which doubles up as a selection for the World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand,  scheduled for next month.

Teqball has been in Malaysia since 2017 and was officially recognised as a sport by the Youth and Sports Ministry earlier this year.

“We have been pushing hard, and we finally got recognition this year,” said (MTA) president Siva Kumar Jakarathan.

“It is due to the ministry’s support that we can hold the league, and from this event, we will select eight players – for the men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles teams – to participate in the World Championships (scheduled from Nov 29-Dec 3).

“Teqball will be a demonstration sport in the 2025 Bangkok SEA Games, and the world body hopes it will be in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.”

Teqball, invented in Hungary in 2012, is a sport that combines the techniques and skills of football, table tennis, and sepak takraw.

It narrowly failed to be on the shortlist for the 2028 Los Angeles Games, which saw baseball and softball, squash, flag football, cricket, and lacrosse, as the new Olympic sports.

The International Federation of Teqball (FITEQ) is confident it can make the grade for the 2032 edition of the Summer Games, and has Brazilian footballing legend Ronaldinho as an ambassador.

The sport is popular among European football leagues, and when Lionel Messi signed for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, the first training footage released was of him playing teqball with his new teammates.

“The sport has the potential to grow in Malaysia. You can play it indoors or outdoors, and even at the beach,” said Siva, a former football agent.

“If you can play sepak takraw, football, or futsal, you can play teqball. It is a relatively cheap sport, as you only need a table and an open space.

“At the 2019 World Championships, the youngest participant was nine (Maor Ankona of Israel), and the oldest was 50 (Indrit Bejtaga of Italy), so it is a sport for all ages.”

Siva said MTA has partnered with Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) under the ‘One Facility, One Sport’ programme to make it the home of teqball in the country.

“There are many sepak takraw players in UPM. We are confident we can get them to enjoy teqball, as they do not need to learn any new skills,” said Siva.

“MTA is also embarking on a ‘One District, One Table’ programme. We hope the sport will be played in schools by 2025.”

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