We have a new favorite sport here at SB Nation.
Teqball has been around for a few years now, and only reached our doorstep this morning. But it did not take long for teqball to burrow its way into our cold, dark hearts.
You are probably wondering, however, what the heck teqball is. So if you have made it this far, we are here to help.
The history of teqball
Created back in 2012 by three Hungarian soccer fans, teqball is perhaps best described as a combination of soccer, ping-pong and tennis. The creative idea behind teqball came from Gábor Borsányi, who played soccer growing up but would often play foot tennis on a ping-pong table.
As Borsányi found, the flat surface of a traditional ping-point table often saw the ball bounce in unexpected directions, and away from the players. That led to his idea of a curved table, which would lead the ball to hopefully bounce towards the players more consistently.
Years after his playing days ended in the lower levels of Hungarian soccer divisions, Borsányi met Viktor Huszár, and the two shared a passion for the idea of playing foot soccer on a table. In 2012, they agreed on a vision for what would become teqball. They met the third member of the founding group, György Gattyán, two years later. Gattyán is a Hungarian businessman who made his fortune, well...if you want to Google that feel free but just maybe do not research him at work...
Huszár, a computer scientist, completed the prototype of the curved table that year, in 2014. Two years later, the trio unveiled the sport in Budapest, with former Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho as one of the sport’s ambassadors.
How is it played?
According to Fédération Internationale de Teqball (FITEQ), the sport’s governing body, teqball is designed to push athletes “to develop their technical skills, concentration and stamina:”
The sport, which was created in Hungary in 2012 is a truly gender-equitable game, as the rules define that teqball shall be played between two (singles) or four players (doubles), irrespective of gender. The sport follows a points-based scoring format and can be played on various surfaces such as sand, acrylic or indoors. Teqball allows players a maximum of three touches before returning the ball to the opponent, so if you can juggle a football three times, you will excel at teqball as well. Teqball is the purest use of a football, with the rule of no physical contact allowed between the players, or between the players and the table, helping eliminate the risk of impact injuries.
You know what, it might just make more sense to see the sport in action:
The explosion of the sport
Teqball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and is aiming for the Olympics. After being unveiled back in 2016, it took just two years for FITEQ to be recognized by an Olympic committee, when the Olympic Committee of Asia (OCA) recognized the governing body.
The following year FITEQ was recognized by two more Olympic governing bodies: The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), as well as the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).
In November of 2020, FITEQ was granted full membership in the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). The three founders released a joint statement, acknowledging their growth with a touching analogy: “Teqball was conceived and born a few years ago and now with your decision, our child has just entered a top school. With your continued support and guidance we will try to be the best parents for Teqball’s upbringing. This is an emotional day for us as we are officially welcomed into the Sports Family. Thank you all!”
According to the FITEQ website, teqball now has an estimated 5,000 players in over 100 countries. There are over 2,000 teqball clubs, and more than 2,000 trained referees for the sport. FITEQ has hosted four world championship events, with the next one scheduled for later this month in Nuremberg:
Only a few short weeks away now. The Teqball World Championships 2022 will be one for the books ! See you all in Nuremberg— TEQBALL (@Teqball) November 2, 2022
Come watch the best teqball players battle it out on November 27
•#Teqball #Teq #TeqballWCH #Nuremberg #SeeYouInGermany #Eurosport #NurembergIsTeq pic.twitter.com/9RuApt3dGb
Could Teqball be the next Olympic sport?
This might be the biggest question. Teqball’s founders are eying the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles as their target for inclusion in the Olympics. To that end, the sport has made numerous incursions into the American market. In January, FITEQ signed a deal with ESPN to livestream a dozen U.S. events, as well as six highlight shows. Also this year, FITEQ brought on USWNT hero Cari Lloyd as their first female ambassador:
Teqball USA made the two-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year their first female ambassador earlier this year. Lloyd got her first taste of live competition while attending the recent USA Teqball Tour Los Angeles Finals on the beaches of Santa Monica, featuring mens and womens teams from all over the world.
“I’ve been a big soccer tennis fan for training throughout my career,” Lloyd added. “Juggling and soccer tennis work on important aspects of your game, especially vision, awareness and touch. Incorporating Teqball into your training, whether at parks or with your clubs is another opportunity for players to get more touches on the ball and work different areas of their game.”
Teqball USA has also grown on college campuses, with an estimated 400 colleges and universities having teqball tables on campus. According to Teqball USA CEO Ajay Nwosu, having the sport on campuses is an essential part of their plan for inclusion in the Olympics. “No sport has ever been an Olympic sport without going through collegiate pathway,” said Nwosu, who also serves as the President of the US National Teqball Federation, back in January. “We picked the top hundred schools around the US and basically donated Teqball tables to them. That creates a demand.”
As for what is next, according to Nwosu teqball officials are in “in constant conversation” with both the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as officials for the Los Angeles 2028 games. While the sport has yet to be recognized by the IOC, it has been added to the programs for the 2023 European Games, the 2023 Asian Beach Games, and the 2024 Bolivarian Games.
However, LA2028 might be a bridge too far for the sport. Teqball was not among the nine sports invited to submit a proposal to the Los Angeles Olympic Committee this summer. Still, with its tremendous growth in less than a decade, it might be a matter of when, and not if, you will see teqball at an Olympic Games.