The visiting team from South Korea, known as ‘JOIN’, arrived ahead of the Nationals and asked whether they could play some gateball in the Sydney area. They certainly worked hard!
Thursday 21st November – Epping welcomed the Korean team to the Epping Croquet Club, along with gateball and croquet players from Epping, Holroyd, Newcastle, Toronto and Strathfield croquet clubs. Games were played in front of a large audience.
An excellent morning tea and lunch was supplied by Ken Poole and the Epping Croquet Club. After lunch, the Korean team showed the finer points of ball placement and a whole range of different shots. Not sure we’ll be able to duplicate them. They were very generous and patient with their coaching. We appreciated their time and trouble in suggesting ways to improve our game.
Quoting Rose from the Toronto Croquet Club, “The Koreans played with such precision, accuracy and humility. I could have watched them play all day long”. We did indeed play all day long or until everyone said “enough”. A very enjoyable day was had by all.
Friday 22nd – President Mary Gibson welcomed the Korean team to the Mosman Croquet Club. A large audience of Mosman Croquet Club members watched the Korean team play the members and guests on the beautiful grounds overlooking Sydney harbour.
Once again, the Korean team displayed their skills and accuracy. We enjoyed lunch as a cool breeze entered the Mosman Pavilion. After lunch the Korean team displayed the finer points of gateball. At day’s end, Mary and her team dropped the Korean team off at Taronga Wharf where they were taking a ferry on the harbour.
Monday 25th – A weekend in the Blue Mountains introduced the team to the vagaries of mountain weather – hot, cold and smoky. The team pitched in to cook the BBQ and the women beat the men at the Finska garden game. On Monday everyone drove down to Lithgow and again were treated to a master class from ‘JOIN’. They took so much time to explain techniques and suggest ways to improve our performance.
Tuesday 26th – Strathfield Croquet Club President Ann Shaddick welcomed the Korean team. The Mayor of Strathfield also welcomed them. All players then took to the court and played several games prior to morning tea and lunch.
Everyone was impressed with the Korean Team as they consistently produced a very high standard of play. Strathfield member Petula Shun said, “For me I have only being playing gateball for 6 months and as I am a trainee referee they encouraged me to practise assisting their referee. They also included some basics like stance and just striking and sparking. They were just so generous. It’s easy to see the practice they do with 24 hour facility available!!
Stories supplied by Sandra Townley – Epping Croquet Club, Maggi Williams – Lithgow Croquet Club and members of various clubs.
Tomorrow, our club hosts the ‘JOIN’ Korean gateball team. The lawns are ready, the weather just has to behave itself! The Mayor of Strathfield, Councillor Antoine Doueihl will be coming at 10am to ‘meet and greet’ this talented and nice team from near Busan, South Korea. At least this experience is helping me to get to know more about Korea and Koreans. Another special guest and SCC Club member is Lucille McKenna who will be coming tomorrow, not only to volunteer but also to represent the InnerWestCouncil, as Lucille is one of their Councillors.
This increasing knowledge of Korea, which hopefully more of us will experience over time and not be confined to just Korea, can only strengthen ties between citizens of our respective countries, at least at the personal level as well as the gateball level. The connection with Korea was strongly felt by me today when I attended – coincidentally – a luncheon in honour of Korean War Veterans at Concord Hospital. My husband (Keith) who died in 2016 was a Korean War Veteran. This function in honour of Veterans and their guests was hosted by the Consul-General of Korea, Sangwoo Hong. Whilst I had invited the Consul-General to the SCC event he was unavailable that day and this was this next best thing. As the Consul-General pointed out, next year is particularly significant for Australian-Korean bonds as they commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Ceasefire.
Keith and I used to attend annually the Cheil Church at North Strathfield, again in honour of Korean Veterans. However, today was the first time I had a really long and pleasant discussion (over lunch) with a lady who attends that church. So at the next anniversary function I will go with the knowledge, I now know one of their parishioners, that kind Korean lady at my table, who gave our croquet club the Korean flag. She felt it had a more valuable role to play in that location, rather than being stored at her home. Its presence will add to the welcome the Korean team will feel with their flag on display tomorrow. Epping Club borrowed a Korean flag from their local Council and that gave me the idea. The flag is a significant addition to our club and a stepping stone to a closer connection. Today I also printed out a map of Korea and I wrote to Jay ( Jae-won), the son of the JOIN team’s manager who will act as interpreter tomorrow. I asked Jay which was the closest city from which their team came. Jay said Busan (a port city in the very south).
So again this gateball experience, along with my husband’s war experience of Korea, is motivating me to really extend the hand of friendship to the Korean gateballers in a more meaningful way
Strathfield Croquet Club
If you read the replies to articles on this site you may have noticed that one person comments regularly and that’s Surinder Singh. But who is Surinder Singh, where is he from and does he play gateball? Well the super sleuths in Gateball Australia decided to find out.
After much investigation the mystery man was found. Surinder Singh lives in Haryana in Northern India and here’s his story.
Hi. My name is Surinder Singh. I currently work as a mathematics teacher living in in Haryana India.
It is a matter of prestige for me to be associated with gateball. Gateball has brought a tremendous change in my life with lots of new experiences. It is my pleasure to share my story of how I play gateball so this might help and encourage a lot of people to play.
I play for Haryana Gateball Organisation. I play twice or thrice a week on weekends. I started playing gateball in 2010 after seeing the videos on the internet. I play in competitions in India as well as around the world. I was a runner up in Indonesia Gateball 2015. I have been to one or two international tournaments like in Indonesia and I have played a national level match. I also teach and supervise children near me playing gateball. I notice that women are less interested in playing gateball in India.
Gateball is like a fever for me. It would be a great pleasure for me to be a part of Gateball Australia and maybe one day play there.
Thank you so much Surinder for sharing your story. We look forward to seeing you in Australia one day.
Dennis Bulloch from the Rose Garden Croquet Club at Palmerston North in New Zealand has recently been in touch with Gateball Australia about a Gateball Tournament which will be held next year in New Zealand. The event has been posted on the WGU website . Dennis has played Gateball at Ripon in England, along with Gateball Australia’s long-standing friend and mentor, Keiichi Imagawa. He also played in Germany and wishes to hold a competition at his Croquet Club in Palmerston North. He has already made great strides, with 25 people playing Gateball at his Club!
Dennis tells us “Our gateball players are able to play three set times per week (Wednesday and Sunday at 1.00 PM and Thursday at 5.00 PM which provides competition for workers and those still at school) and some go the club to play Gateball of their own accord. We have excellent quality lawns which are quite fast and the sets of Gateball gear are in good condition. Our gateball sticks vary from ancient but serviceable to modernish but worn. Something to invest in in the near future! I’m in the process of organizing a Gymkhana based on gateball for our players. Will let you know how I get on! They seem enthusiastic about the idea.”
A fortuitous link with New Zealand has also been forged through the Southport Croquet Club. The new President of Croquet New Zealand is Kathie Grant. Many Queensland players met her because she is a member of Southport Croquet Club and played in the Mallet Sports Competition this year. Southport players are keen to participate in the NZ event and, for some, this is because they are closely connected to NZ by birth or through family members.
Previous attempts have been made to establish Gateball in New Zealand. Keiichi Imagawa recently reminded us that he visited Takapuna, New Zealand with Jun Nogami to promote Gateball in 2000 when he was the Director General of the World Gateball Union. Shortly after some NZ teams played at the Australian Gateball Championship in the early 2000s
Since that time we have not heard any more and the link to the NZ GB website no longer functions.
Dennis’ recent contact and Kathie’s interest will hopefully see the game on a sound footing in NZ.