Caricature – Gilon Smith

At the 2015 Australian Gateball Championship Gateball Australia’s previous National Director, Gilon Smith, was thanked for his contribution to the game and presented with a caricature drawn by Gateball’s Frances Wregg.

Gilon’s steady hand and unruffled manner will be missed in the national role. We will no doubt be calling on his advice and will continue to value his clear and analytic thinking.

The picture shows Gilon taking a swing to the accompaniment of raucous catcalls from some of his Canberra teammates.

Gilon SmithThe Canberra players included in the Caricature “in real life”. Can you guess who is who?image

2015 Victorian Gateball Championships

Gateballers from Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria have arrived in Melbourne for the Victorian Gateball Championship. Seven teams will compete for the teams trophy on 2 May while 14 pairs will compete for the doubles championship on 3 May.

Results can be viewed on

Previous winners can be viewed here.

Good luck to all participants.

Saturday teams eventimage




Canberra were the victors winning 5 of their 6 matches all by very close margins. The South East Queensland Cougars finished second with four wins and a positive 16 net points.

image imageimage

Sunday doubles: Congratulations to David and Gareth Hughes from Queensland on winning the doubles competition. They almost recorded a perfect game in the final defeating Glen and Kristina Whitehead from Canberra 23-10.

IMG_3746 IMG_3754 IMG_3756 IMG_3761 IMG_3769 IMG_3774 IMG_3777 IMG_3780

David and Gareth not only dazzled us with their gateball but also with their virulent fluoro orange shirts. These were souvenirs of a 2014 Qld Gateballers Cruise. They even told us that there is another cruise boat that has a croquet lawn on board.

IMG_20150503_111440 (1)


2014 World Gateball Championship – Wrap

The 11th World Gateball Championship was held in Niigata, Japan from 26-28 September, 2014. Australia was represented by 20 players competing in three teams out of the 700 players in 90 teams from around the world. The Australian players were joined by three referees who were invited to officiate at a World Championship, a first for Australian referees. Articles leading up to the tournament and live coverage was presented on this site. This post summarises the tournament and includes a number of new photos.


The tournament was hosted at Niigata City Athletic Stadium. The Stadium was situated in a large parkland and conference area not far from the riverfront. The Stadium boasted a large playing area with 12 courts set up for play, a large amount of stadium seating and room outside for registration and equipment stalls.
Australian teams were impressed with the manicured lawns which had long grass but ran smooth and ran true allowing for a high standard of play.
Each team was allocated a tent and volunteer for the tournament for storing equipment and for resting between matches.

Opening Ceremony
taiko drumming
Entertainment at the opening ceremony included a short film on the history of gateball, Taiko drumming and a handover of the trophy from reigning champions Fujian. Participants were welcomed by World Gateball Union President Ms Ono and the athletes oath was read by a young Japanese player from the TKE squad.

Lighting of flame and march
IMG_2464 (1)
Before matches on the Saturday morning the competition was opened with the end of the flame relay and the lighting of the cauldron. Other entertainment included the athletes march, Japanese dancing and VIPs hitting through a large ceremonial gate including Australian National Director of Gateball Gilon Smith.

Big crowds were in attendance on Saturday with Canberra playing on one of the show courts in front of a crowd of around 2,000. Crowds diminished over the weekend as local sides from Niigata got knocked out of the tournament with the final played in front of around 800 spectators.

The Tournament

700 players from twenty countries and regions competed in 90 teams. Disappointingly, out of the 96 teams nominated some teams from Indonesia, India and Taiwan were unable to attend leaving a hole in some blocks. Fortunately this did not impact the Australian teams. 111 referees officiated the tournament and there was a large army of officials, volunteers and translators.  

Australian Results
The Australian squad achieved its best ever result at a World Championship by winning five of their nine games. Saturday saw each Australian team play two games with a third on the Sunday. All Australian teams lost their first match before improving throughout the tournament. Unfortunately no Australian teams were able to win their block and therefore did not advance to the knockout phase. Southport came close, finishing second to Uruguay in their block. Individual team results were:

Uruguay 16 – Southport 9
Southport 12 – Thailand 5
Southport 13 – Team Europe 9
Best match vs Thailand. Southport controlled this match from start to finish with all players executing better than Thailand to pull off a comfortable victory.

Garuda Sulteng (Indonesia) 12 – Canberra 8
Canberra 13 – Canada 10
Canberra 12 – Taipei Taichung 9
Best match vs Taipei Taichung. Canberra played white and took control early in the match against a strong side. Some long tight touches to the line and a gate touch were required late to cement victory. This was a good win against a strong side that advanced to the knockout phase.

Tamborine Mountain Raptors
GMF (Indonesia) 12 – Tamborine Mountain Raptors 7
Tsuyama Gateball Family (Japan) 18 – Tamborine Mountain Raptors 8
Tamborine Mountain Raptors 17 – China Macao2 10
Best match vs China Macao2. Tamborine Mountain Raptors started very aggressively which put them behind early however some long shots from David and a 10m gate and touch by Barrie allowed the Raptors to storm home recording the highest individual score of any Australian team.

Overall Results

Results from the round robin stage can be viewed here. Results from the knockout round can be viewed here. The knockout phase saw a greater spread of teams than the last world championships with teams from Japan (7), China (3), Brazil (3), Chinese Taipei (3), Korea (2), Macao (1) and Uruguay (1) all qualifying for the knockout phase. Chinese teams, although small in number, rose to prominence in the knockout round taking two of the top four positions.

The ultimate victor was Shanxi Linfen of China defeating Joshokiryu of Japan 12-8. Shanxi Linfen were the superior team with Joshokiryu looking tired after a long string of consecutive knockout matches. Shanxi Linfen dominated most of the match consistently “hunting down” Joshokiryu players. A long shot by Joshokiryu did turn the match but it was too little too late and the Chinese side were comfortable and well deserving victors.

Shanxi Linfen was the first all male team to win the tournament since Greenpia Tomonokai were victors in 2002.


111 referees adjudicated at the event. Keith McLeod, Bruce McAlister and Margaret Barnard were Australia’s first ever referee team.  Keith McLeod was also nominated as a vice chairmen of referees for the tournament.
The Aussies refereed four games in the round robin series and were delighted and proud to be chosen to referee one of the games in the final series.
The Australians received positive feedback on their performance from World Gateball Union Officials including the Chairman of Referees as well from players participating at the World Gateball Championship.

Media/Live Stream

Australian teams were popular with Japanese media including TV, website and newspapers.
The following knockout matches were streamed live on USTREAM and can still be viewed at the links below.
Opening dinner
Round of 16 – Sejong (Korea) vs Joshokiryu (Japan)
Quarterfinal – Shanghai Gaodong (China) vs Sata King (Japan)
Semi-final – Shanghai Gaodong (China) vs Joshokiryu (Japan)
Semi-final – Shanxi Linfen (China) vs Hsinchu County (Taiwan)
Final – Shanxi Linfen (China) vs Joshokiryu (Japan)
Awards Ceremony

Other Videos have been updated to youtube including the Southport vs Team Europe match and other matches here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

There were twelve stalls out the front of the stadium that sold gateball equipment and local souvenirs and produce. A number of Australian players took advantage purchasing new mallets and other gateball accessories.


Chris Wentworth from Southport was particularly popular with the media and other teams. Chris was the 3rd youngest player in the tournament at 13 years old (the youngest was an 11 year old from Indonesia). Chris played well and contributed strongly to Southport’s two wins.
David Hughes from the Tamborine Mountain Raptors was also popular as the second youngest Australian and another teenager in the tournament.

New Rules

The 45th Board of Directors Meeting was held in Niigata Japan on September 26th, 2014 and discussed reviewing the official gateball rules.
Proposed updates to the official gateball rules were approved as submitted by the World Gateball Union. The updates to the rules are available at:

The rules updates are generally minor however changes to the rules for gate 1 and sparking fouls will have an impact on some matches. The new rules come into effect from 1 April 2015.

2018 World Gateball Championship

The 12th World Gateball Championship will be held in 2018. Several bids were received and the final decision will be made by the chairperson and be subsequently announced.

Gateball Australia Website

This website recorded a record number of hits in the lead-up to and during the tournament. In the two weeks leading up to and during the tournament the site recorded 3,702 hits including a record 595 hits on the final day of the tournament. You can re-live the 11 day countdown and updates during the tournament below.
11 days to go – Review of 2010 Gateball World Championship
10 days to go – Venue Preview/Road to Niigata
9 days to go –  Canberra Team Profile
8 days to go –  What is a Winning Score in Japan?
7 days to go –  Tamborine Mountain Raptors Team Profile
6 days to go –  Message from the Prime Minister
5 days to go –  Southport Team Profile
4 days to go –  Tournament Information
3 days to go –  Australian Referees/Tournament Weather Forecast
2 days to go –  Draw/Travel Log
1 day to go –  Canberra’s Lead-up in Japan
Friday – practice day
Saturday – competition commences
Sunday – a champion team is crowned

Australia’s participation in the 2014 World Gateball Championship has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation.

World Championships – Sunday – Block and Knockout


Results from the round robin stage can be viewed here.

Results from the knockout round can be viewed here.

Tamborine Mountains kicking off the final round with their final match against Macao China at 9:00 am local time. Canberra and Southport play at 11:00am.

Day 1 included some interesting results with Japan looking to have the strongest presence in knockout phase but they will be joined by a number of surprise packets with Taiwan, Brazil looking to have multiple finalists and Macao, Korea also with strong results. There may be surprises as well with the USA, Uruguay and Russia currently unbeaten and fighting for a spot in the last 24.

Results from Australian teams and photos will be posted progressively throughout the day.

Australian Results

Tamborine Mountain Raptors 17 – China Macao 9

Canberra 12 – Taichung (Taiwan) 9

Southport 13 – Europe 9

In addition to these updates the following websites are expected to be progressively updated during the tournament.

World Gateball UnionWorld Championship Website

Japan Gateball Union Website

Japan Gateball Union Blog

Japan Gateball Union Facebook

The finals and closing ceremony will be streamed live on USTREAM. Knockout Phase : 13:30-17:00 AEST

*The four final games will be broadcasted

Awards and Closing Ceremony : 17:30-18:30 AEST

Play has commenced. Raptors loss the toss and are following against Macao. Aggressive start from the Raptors. Smaller crowd in this morning, expected to fill up during the day. Yesterday Canberra were on one of the grandstand courts and got to play in front of a crowd of about two thousand. image image

Score is 9 – 5 to Macao with 11 minutes remaining. Raptors fighting back. Good turn from David and then long gate touch for Barrie. Raptors charging home with vocal crowd from all countries. Raptors have now taken the lead! Herman and Carol peg Raptors win 17 – 9.

Apologies for the delay, we’ve been playing. Southport outplayed Europe and won by 4, unfortunately they needed to win by 10 in order to get into the knockout phase. A few refereeing mistakes unfortunately had an impact on the match. Uruguay will go through in the block.

Canberra played their best game to triumph over the previously undefeated team from Taiwan. The was always in the balance until a long rush by Alex, long tight to the line touch by Kristina, long touch by Bryan and a gate and touch by Glen (set up by Tim) turned the match. The Taiwanese team will go through in the block.

The block stage is now complete. Today was a top day for Aussie teams with 3 wins from 3 matches. Although Australia did not meet its goal of getting out of its block it did record it’s best ever performance at a world championship.

All Australian teams recorded at least one win with overall five wins from nine matches. Looking forward to the finals don’t forget the live steaming (details above).

The finals have commenced first round will bring 24 teams down to 16. I’m currently watching a young and vocal Brazillian team take an early lead over a top Japanese team. Japan fighting back. Brazil gate and touch back in control. Very vocal.

. image image

Results include Brazil over Japan, China over Brazil, Macao over Taiwan and Taiwan over Japan. 16 teams remain. Australian referee team have been selected to officiate all Japan match.

image image

Australian referees did an excellent job. Final 16 comprises 6 from Japan, 2 from Brazil, China, Korea, Taiwan and 1 from Uruguay and Macao. Lots of stress around the stadium, biggest crowd is for China vs Japan match. Pictures of shopping and Australian results below.

image image image image image

Final 8 are Brazil, China x2, Macao, Japan x 3, Taiwan. Big crowds at all courts. China on top of Brazil early 9 -2, 20 minutes remain. The other China team on top of Japan who are still keeping 3 balls off, 15 minutes remain. 5 mins remain, China will defeat Brazil and Japan. Japan through in other quarter and the fourth semi spot is in the balance between Macao and Taiwan.

image image

Semis won by China over Taiwan and Japan over China in a miracle finish. Peg needed to win on the last shot and he nailed it, crowd goes nuts. Final between Shanxi Linfen China and Joshokiryu, Japan. Japan have won the toss and willplay red. 8 minutes in, China in control still lots of balls to come on. 4-6. 15 mins left, China now 6-5 ahead, keeping Japan off the court.

China are world champions winning the final 12 – 8. Japan were coming home but ran out of time. China are celebrating. Pictures below. China hitting accuracy and depth of an exceptional standard.

image image image image image

Closing ceremony completed. End of a great tournament. Australian teams saying farewells to other teams.


That’s it for today. Thanks for your readership and comments. We have registered a record number of visits to the website on each of the three days and recorded over 3,500 visits over the past two weeks. will post a full review of the championships in the coming weeks.

Additional: Chris Wentworth from Southport (one of the youngest players in the competition) was one of the most photographed players and was very popular with opposing teams.

image image image

Gilon Smith made the back page of the Niigata newspaper with the ceremonial gate.



Australia’s participation in the 2014 World Gateball Championship has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation.

World Championships – Saturday – Block Stage


Results from Australian teams and photos will be posted progressively throughout the day.

Australian Results


Uruguay 16 – Southport 9

Southport 12 – Thailand 5

Tamborine Mountain Raptors

GMF (Indonesia) def Raptors

Tsuyama Gateball Family 18 – Raptors 8


Garuda Sultang (Indonesia) 12 – Canberra 8

Canberra 13 – Canada 10

In addition to these updates the following websites are expected to be progressively updated during the tournament.

World Gateball Union World Championship Website
Japan Gateball Union Website
Japan Gateball Union Blog
Japan Gateball Union Facebook

Sunday finals will be streamed live on USTREAM

The Australian referee team will take control of their first match at 11:00am local time.


Australian teams have been popular with the Japanese media featuring on Channel 6 news yesterday.


Teams awaiting the opening march. A large crowd has arrived. Gateball shops are doing a roaring trade. Photos of Aussie teams and crowd are below.

image image image image image

Ceremonial gate is huge! Teams bibs are below.

image image


Opening ceremony complete, the flame has been lit. First round of matches has commenced. Australian referees in action.

image image image image image image


Australian results are at the top of this post. First up loss for Southport to Uruguay despite a late flurry of points at the end from both teams. All Australian teams recorded a loss in the first round, second round just starting.

First win for Australia with Canberra defeating Canada, in a tight match after Canada hit several long bombs. Tamborine have started well against the formidable Tsuyama GB Family (Japan).

image image image

Japanese side has taken control against the Raptors. Some long shots by the Raptors fell agonisingly short. Japan win.

Southport have started well in the final round against Thailand. Southport in control 9-5 with 15minutes remaining.


Southport wins. Good end to the day for the Aussies. Southport are the strongest chance to advance needing to beat Europe and have Thailand beat Uruguay.

More updates tomorrow from 6am. Full results from day 1 are at the link below. Not a great day for China with only a few teams likely to qualify for the knockout phase. Defending champions Fujian are unlikely to progress.

Australia’s participation in the 2014 World Gateball Championship has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation.