Gateball is a mallet sport similar to croquet. It is a fast-paced, non-contact, highly-strategic team game, which can be played by anyone regardless of age or gender. Although relatively new in Australia, it is played by millions of people throughout Asia and South America.
Basics of the game
Gateball is played on a rectangular court 20 metres long and 15 metres wide. Courts are generally grass, but can also be clay, gravel or concrete. Each court has three gates and a goal pole. The game is played by two teams (red and white) of five players. Each player has a numbered ball corresponding to their playing order. The odd-numbered balls are red and the even-numbered balls are white. Teams score one point for each ball hit through a gate and two points for hitting the goal pole. A game of gateball lasts for 30 minutes. The winner is the team that has the most points at the end of the game.
The official rules of gateball can be found on the World Gateball Union website.
Gateball originated in Japan in 1947 and is now played by more than 8 million people in over 15 countries worldwide. Japan and China have strong gateball associations with millions of registered players. In Japan there is even a magazine and television show devoted to gateball! Other countries that play include: Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chinese Taipei; Indonesia (Bali); Korea; Paraguay; Peru; Singapore; the United States of America; and Uruguay. Small numbers of enthusiasts have recently started playing in Europe.
Gateball in Australia
In Australia, about 300 players regularly play gateball in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT. Gateball is usually played at Croquet clubs. Schools have played the game and are welcome to contact Gateball Australia if they are interested.
More on the history of gateball in Australia can be found here.