The 11th World Gateball Championship will be played in Niigata City Athletic Stadium (capacity 18,671). Niigata is a city of 800,000 that lies on the west coast of Honshu island about 2 hours bullet train from Tokyo.
Grass is expected to be long (slow) by Australian standards. Advice from Japan is that the courts will be flat and true. Some early photos featuring David Underhill, from the Swiss gateball team are below
Courts will be marked with tape. The thickness of the tape will be a key variable for Australian teams who are used to playing with painted courts.
Road to Niigata
96 teams will be representing twenty countries/regions at the World Championships as listed below.
Number of Teams
The road to Niigata varies greatly for different countries. Selection procedures for key countries are below.
The three Australian teams qualified in accordance with the Selection Policy for the Australian Squad at World Gateball Championships.
The first round of Japanese teams were selected based on recent performances in the Japanese Championships (All Japan Championship) and international competitions.
These first round selected teams will be some of the favorites for the competition and avoiding these teams in the first round would be a bonus. Winning a major Japanese Championship is a major achievement given the number and quality of competitors. For example the recent Ryoichi Sasakawa Cup boasted 1,118 competitors competing in 190 teams. Bags not tournament managing.
China have a lot to defend after their clean sweep of the top four placings in Shanghai. China will have 7 teams competing and all are expected to be formidable. To select teams for the World Championships 33 of China’s best teams played in a qualifying tournament fighting for 6 places. The seventh team is Fujian, the defending World Champion who secure automatic qualification.
With sixteen teams and over 100 competitors Brazil will be one of the largest squads at the World Championship after been ‘gifted’ positions by some of their South American neighbours.
The board of the Union of Clubs Gateball of Brazil granted one seat for the seven gateball regions; two positions were allocated to young teams that have shown rapid improvement. Automatic selection was awarded to:
Caucaia – Brazilian Champions
Guaira – I Cup champion
Memuro – Gueitebol of Brazil
The remaining positions were contested by sixteen teams in a qualifying tournament in São Paulo.
Australia’s participation in the 2014 World Gateball Championship has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation.