We all remember Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular bicycle kick against Juventus in the UCL quarter-final in 2018 or that epic Rooney goal in the Manchester derby. Now imagine those goals being scored on a table tennis table. You got teqball!
Looking like a cross between table tennis and football and being played on a curved table, teqball is a ground-breaking modern sport that can bring those incredible football moments into the comfort of your own home.
Teqball is a brand-new football-based sport that is ideal for both professional and amateur footballers looking to improve their technical abilities, focus, and endurance.
Invented by Hungarian ex-footballer Gabor Borsanyi, the game was developed from him practising football with friends - Viktor Huszár and György Gattyán - using concrete outdoor table tennis tables in Budapest. They discovered they could bend the table at the side to make the game more interesting.
A new generation of aspiring athletes and fans looking to improve their technical abilities, concentration, and endurance are becoming attracted to this game. Injuries from impacts or rough tackling are almost impossible to occur while playing the game or practice since there is no physical interaction with the players.
Although Teqball is gaining massive popularity all over the world, it still remains relatively unknown to this day in our region. The number of athletes in this year's world cup was double that of last year's, with nations from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Pacific taking part.
This sport is not widely popular in our country yet, but the number of players is increasing exponentially.
Mehraj, a teqball enthusiast from Bangladesh, says that "I watch teqball regularly but despite my willingness to learn more and play teqball, I am unable to do so because of the lack of players around me."
"I have informed as many people as I could about the game. Some of them now play with me on a daily basis. It's becoming quite a popular game in my neighbourhood. However, we want to do more because it hasn't yet received official recognition in our country," he added.
How teqball became a global sport from a mere garage game can be understood by looking at some of its increasing numbers in recent years.
According to FITEQ (International teqball federation), approximately 2000 players play this game in more than 100 countries. It now has 109 established national federations all over the world along with around 2000 clubs registered by those federations.
On the other hand, there are 500 FITEQ trained referees to conduct matches.
Although it has been invented only recently, the game has witnessed three World Cup tournaments. The first tournament was held in Budapest, Hungary, in 2017, and it drew competitors from more than twenty nations. In 2018, 42 countries competed in the second World Cup, which was held in Reims, France, and was followed by the 2019 edition, which was held in Budapest and featured 57 countries.
Meanwhile, the sport was included in the African Beach Games, which took place in mid-2019.
Recently, The International Federation of Teqball (FITEQ) was granted full membership of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) which is seen by many as an important milestone in Teqball becoming an Olympic sport.
In 2018, The International Teqball Federation (FITEQ) was officially recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
So why is teqball gaining such popularity in a short time? For one, its rules are very interesting. The teqball table is located in the middle of a playing field and unlike a traditional table tennis table, is bent at the edges and measures 3 meters by 1.7 meters. The table's highest point is 0.76 meters in the centre until it begins to taper down from there.
The ball used to play teqball looks a lot like a football. A size five ball is the official ball recommended by the teqball inventors. Players cannot touch the table or their opponents but if the ball touches the edge of the table, the point needs to be replayed.
The game is won by the team winning the best of three sets while each set is played until one of the teams has scored 20 points. By landing the ball on your opponent's side of the Teqball table without them returning it, your team will earn a point.
Players stand behind the table and kick the ball to the opponent's side of the table to serve the ball. Each team has two chances to serve successfully before the point is forfeited. The players switch serves after every four points. A team will lose a point if they miss the table. Players can have up to three touches or passes before they must return the ball.
If a team of two or more is playing, they must move the ball at least once each time. Players can't hit the ball with the same body part twice in a row, and they can't touch the ball with their hands or limbs. Players are often prohibited from touching either their opponent or their teammates, as well as the teqball surface.
Teqball's aim is to become an Olympic sport by 2028, and with the Olympics being held in Los Angeles in that year, the founders of the game are hoping to capitalise on the opportunity. Huszar (the founder of teqball) wants the sport to be "accessible to all in the world, regardless of age, gender, or ability."
"The massive growth of the sport in just a few years shows that people enjoy playing, and we are working hard to carry tables to countries all over the world so that we can realise our dream of seeing Teqball in the Olympic Games one day," he said
"A table and a curve that we believe will change this world."
An innovative and fun sport, teqball is here to prevail.