The FIR Council have recently voted to return the World Championships to an annual tournament. The 17th World Championships will now be staged next year in 2019, with the World Championships returning to the World Tour every year thereafter.
The Continental Championships (European, N.American, African, Asian and Australasian) will not be staged in 2019 and will be considered to return at a point that the FIR feels they will be most beneficial.
Message from FIR Executive President, Duncan Stahl:
“Growing Racketlon into a truly global sport beyond just Europe is certainly one of my long term goals. Although Racketlon as a sport is far less developed in countries outside of Europe, there is nonetheless some encouraging activity with India, Hong Kong and the USA sending teams and players to the recent World Championships and Singapore becoming an official FIR member country at the 2018 AGM. Canada has traditionally always sent strong players and teams, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand all hold regular tournaments and I’ve even had early talks about a possible world tour event in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Having spoken with many of the individuals and Federations driving Racketlon in these areas outside of Europe two things have become clear:
1. There are not yet enough players in their respective regions to realistically hold a Continental Championships (outside of Europe) and so for now there is no need or demand to stage one.
However, these countries are all very keen to try and stage tournaments as part of the FIR World Tour, where they would like to attract as many of the European based players as possible to come and play in their countries alongside all the local players they are trying to develop. It is these World Tour tournaments that have the potential to really help the growth, development and awareness of Racketlon in these regions.
2. The opportunity for non-European countries to send teams and players to the World Championships is a fantastic motivation. They get to see the best players in the world at a big, well staged tournament, but more importantly they get to compete in and feel part of the global Racketlon community. These experiences are invaluable and they inspire people to return to their countries determined to grow, develop and tell everyone about Racketlon.
By only having the World Championships every two years, we are denying these countries from having this experience every year. Returning to an annual World Championships allows the FIR and the global Racketlon community to stay in more regular contact with the players and Federations of these countries and will hopefully inspire faster and more effective growth of Racketlon within these non-European countries.”
Picture credit: ravsport.pl & HK Racketlon Association