Prince Chaudhary – Indian Gateballer

Prince Chaudhary, an Indian Gateballer, tried to bring a team to the 2019 Australian Gateball Championships. Unfortunately, the visas did not arrive in time and the team did not make it. We have kept in touch, and, recently, when invited, he agreed to share his Gateball story with us.

My name is  Prince Chaudhary and I am 29 years old. I come from Himachal Pradesh, a state in Northern India.

I started playing Gateball in 2007 in the  state of Orissa. My coaches’ names were Dr Suman Shankar Tiwari, Manoranjan Mishra & Biswaranjan Mishra. They taught  me how to play Gateball in  the city  of Chandigarh and in Orrisa, I’d spent my 2 weeks in every month learning Gateball.

Game promoted in Utter Pradesh with my Coach Manoranjan Mishra

One day I was selected for my first international tournament in Hong Kong.  At that time time I was in 10th standard (last year of school in India.) Unfortunately, my parents and my teachers were reluctant to allow me to participate in international travel because I missed my final exams and failed my exams. 

At that time, I was the only person from the northern area who was going to play in Hong Kong. I had never been that far from my hometown before. That was the first time for me.

(On arrival) I was excited to see overseas players and how they played Gateball. I learned many techniques from overseas players and later explained these to my team mates in India. After this, I started to promote Gateball in different cities in my state and in other states also. We established a team in every state in Northern India. I spent  4 years promoting Gateball in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana Jammu & Kashmir and my state too. I was working alone without financial support.

I organised two national tournaments in my state. I made some mistakes when I organised my first tournaments  but slowly, slowly I learned everything about how to organise tournaments. After some time i got some financial problems to play tournaments because no-one sponsors our tournaments and that time i was a student. It’s very difficult for a student to organise two national tournaments without sponsorship or any support.

Playing in Kallinga stadium

National tournament which I organised

It is a challenge to play in international tournaments without any sponsor but my parents always supported me. After Hong Kong, I played in Macao, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and other countries. 

With Japanese team mates

I remember my father said to me, ” Don’t worry, one day your game will enter in the Olympics. He  always helped me to play international tournaments and organise tournaments. Sadly,  he has now passed away. Because of financial problems in my home I am going to Singapore for work and now I am working in Singapore from last 5 years. 

Every weekend I am going to play Gateball in Singapore with Mr Kho Sing Tjai and Mr James Wong Fook Meng and Mr Fujimoto Yoshihiro.  

The first time I won  a gold medal in Thailand, it was a memorable day in my life. 

National Gateball Tournament in Orrisa

Gateball comes to Twin City

In hot humid conditions Judy Tier (State Director, NSW Gateball) and Andrew Davies (Canberra Croquet Club Gateball Referee) spent Wednesday 16 December 2020 introducing ten Twin City and Yarrawonga Croquet Club members to Gateball at the Twin City Courts.

Gateball terminology such as sparking, slide touch, bombarding, touch tight to the line are no longer a mystery and we all realise that just because the balls are smaller and the ‘sticks’ (mallets) are lighter doesn’t mean it is an easier game than any of the croquet codes we are more familiar with.

Thank you to all who attended and Twin City will revamp its playing schedule to include a session of Gateball once a fortnight from January 2021 onwards.

Sarina Cevaal-Hewitt
Twin City Croquet Club

Andrew Davies and I have just returned from coaching 10 so very keen potential gateballers in Albury. Thanks Philip for coaching Cheryl so well. We are suggesting the Captain and there are at least 6 players who would not embarrass themselves in a tournament. They have plans to attend the Nationals and I have suggested perhaps Victoria and NSW States first.

I planned a 5 hour day of exercises, instruction and we played 3 games – untimed and timed and refereed. My 4 page handout includes a page of YouTube videos and a page of practice drills for personal use and pre-game preparation. If anyone wants these I am happy to share.

Sarina at Twin Cities had prepared the group extremely well – most had watched many YouTube videos, checked out the Australia Gateball site and came to the coaching with knowledge of the court, game order, some rules and various slide/bombard and gate touch knowledge. What a joy to coach them.

Judy Tier
State Director, NSW Gateball

New Zealand Gateball – Dec 2020

Gateball Australia has received an update from Gateball New Zealand
Dennis Bulloch, the Director of Gateball New Zealand tells us that the organisation is formally established.  Claire Horncastle, Gaylene Jones, Duncan Dixon, Kathie Grant and Dennis are on on the national committee and that  meets monthly with the aid of Microsoft Teams.  Duncan is working on a gateball website which should be up and running by the end of the year. Gaylene is our secretary and Claire our Treasurer.  They are assembling a database of gateball payers.  A gateball club has been formed in Christchurch and there has been quite a lot of interest from a number of croquet clubs. Dennis reports they are still in the state of establishing Gateball in NZ and feel there is a long way to go.  
Hopefully they will be able to have Croquet New Zealand recognise Gateball and be willing to liaise with GNZ. They are seeking funding to purchase gateball sets and loan them to clubs that are showing interest in the sport. 

GNZ will organise and run national tournaments.  
Sadlyit has been decided not to hold the NZ Gateball Championships next year in February due to quarantine border problems. They will let the WGU know of this as well and hope that an Australasian bubble between our 2 countries can be established soon. However, it seems that will not happen before March next year at the earliest.  Fingers crossed, NZ Gateball hope they  can travel in September to compete in the Australian Gateball Championships. 
They recently had a fun day at Rose Gardens Croquet club  which was part of their centenary celebrations and gateball sets were used in many of the activities. 
GNZ has promiised to give us  some information on how the sport is being tackled in Christchurch. Photos featuring the gateball course for students during the last school holidays and an introductory course for a large number of club members in the Christchurch and Ashburton areas. 
CNZ  will try to keep you informed on our gateball progress over the next few months.

New ACA Coaching Manuals for Gateball

This year has made us all very patient and resilient because of the factors associated with the Covid 19 pandemic. The year has also seemed to be longer than normal. One person who knows this better than most is Greg Bury who is the National Coaching Director for the Australian Croquet Association. The huge challenge Greg faced was the production of new Coaching Manuals in all four codes of Croquet in Australia. It will be exciting when the Gateball Coaching Manuals 1, 2 and 3 are released.

One young person who will be very interested in these manuals is fifteen year old Ethan Chilton from Southport Croquet Club. Ethan has been playing Gateball for 3 years fitting it in with his studies at High School. Back in March Ethan agreed to be photographed demonstrating the skills for the new Coaching Manuals. More photos were needed so Ethan returned for these to be taken. Then he had to be called back to the Club for an update in photos so they were “shot again” at a high enough resolution for the books. Last of all, in December, he agreed to participate in the filming of videos that will be used in conjunction with the Manuals. This represents many hours of his time.

Still photo showing Ethan setting up for a ‘bombard’.

The photographic sessions demonstrated the flexibility and adaptiveness of Ethan to the many requests and changes required to obtain the best photo or video. His unfailing good humour and patience was on show the whole time. Ethan plays all four codes and is even in the Golf Croquet Manual. Thank you Ethan from all of us who will be using and benefitting from the production of the new Gateball Coaching Manuals.

Ethan is filmed as he demonstrates a Gate and Touch situation. Greg Bury is in the distance.

Ethan is demonstrating a ball passing through Gate 1 for the video.

Gateball in 2020 in NSW/ACT

And here I was thinking I would  be preparing a report on the many successful tournaments we had fun playing in 2020 and the numbers of new players and clubs taking on our sport.

Then Covid 19 happened. Although we had less time on the court we all had more time for contemplation and reflection. What different effects Covid has had on our NSW/ACT clubs.  Some members have avoided playing, others play with caution and, especially at Canberra Croquet Club, members play more than ever because they have not been able to travel to warmer climes.

Palmerston North in NZ was the sole tournament for many players in our region where teams entered from Victoria and Queensland.

I congratulate the Strathfield gateballers for keeping the game alive in the Sydney region. The regular Sundays have gradually increased in numbers and you have been a beacon of hope for gateball in Sydney’s west and beyond.

At the Canberra Croquet Club numbers have surpassed previous years with new players recruited for the Tavender Trophy. We have 2 painted lawns and our two youngest recruits are slowly learning the complexities of maintaining a scoreboard while not distracting their parents.

Gateball has such a small membership in Australia. It cannot afford to be precious about itself. And it cannot be precious about disputes with referee decisions, the standard of referee competency or when and where tournaments may happen.

We all know it requires effort to initiate any change (like introducing a new discipline), we also know there will always be critics. These people are usually those who rely on the drive and enthusiasm of others. However all the drive and enthusiasm for something new like gateball will never be successful if there is no support from the Club, particularly their committee members. Eventually these drivers of change, these change champions, get tired and  this is the time for someone else to stand up and take the rudder.

Succession planning has never been a great feature of clubs and croquet clubs are no exception. I encourage all gateball players to use the remainder of 2020 to contemplate the future of our game in Australia. Consider who organises the game at your club, could you do more to assist and do you contribute enthusiasm?

Twin Cities Croquet Club in Albury is one such club that has put in strategies to encourage our game.

Next week Andrew Davies and I will be at this club to coach 12 new enthusiasts. They already have six players planning to be at the Nationals in September. Good on them!

I wish all Sparkers a very happy holiday time and loads of enthusiasm for our many tournaments planned for 2021.

 Judy Tier – State Director, NSW Gateball