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Spotlight on Korfball

Korfball 

Korfball is a sport that is very similar to basketball and netball. The goal is to aim and score the ball into a basket with no net, which is mounted on a pole at 3.5 meters high on the opposing team's side. Korfball was introduced in 1902 by Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch school teacher after he came back from a small town in Sweden, where he learned the beginnings of korfball, except it was called “ringboll”. After his stay in Sweden, Broekhuysen went back to Amsterdam, where he made some changes to the rules, he replaced the ring with a basket and showed it to the kids in his class so they could play it also.   

This is a unique sport; it is played by two teams consisting of eight players each (four female and four male players). From the beginning, this was a very controversial quality, and even though the teams and sport were criticized and misunderstood, and despite its reputation, korfball was featured as a demonstration sport in the 1920 and 1928 Summer Olympics. It is now played in more than seventy countries, including the Netherlands, Taiwan, Belgium, Australia, South Africa, China, India, Hong Kong, England, and others. Since 1985, korfball has been played in the World Games, and the IKF World Korfball Championships have been held since 1978. The leading teams are the Netherlands, Belgium, and Chinese Taipei.   

Korfball is played in a court that is 20 meters by 40 meters, and it is divided in half; each half is called a zone, and each zone has a 3.5-meter pole with a basket at the top. These are positioned at two-thirds between the center line and the back of the zone. A korfball match is four periods, each of them 7 to 10 minutes long (depending on the competition). The players are positioned in two zones: four players in one (defense), and the other four in another (attackers). The players cannot leave their designated zones and can only defend from an opposing player of the same gender. As soon as one of the teams score two points, they change zones/positions, so the defenders become attackers and the attackers become defenders. Korfball is a sport that is even more focused on team strategy and support since the player who has the ball cannot dribble or walk with it and relies on the other team members to keep the ball moving and to score. When a player of one team is being defended at the basket, or facing his/her opponent at arm's length, said player cannot attempt to score, so the game must be quick, smart, and team-focused. At half time, the teams change sides of the court. Physical strength domination is not permitted in korfball, nor is kicking the ball, tackling, blocking, or holding.    

In June 1933, the International Korfball Federation was founded in Antwerp, Belgium, and it was then that it was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Currently, korfball is also affiliated to the Association of the IOC Recognized International Sports Federations (ARISF), the International World Games Association (IWGA) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). The International Korfball Federation keeps aiming to spread korfball around the world, supporting financially and strategically to create more affiliations, and to provide coaching, enhancement, and training, focusing specifically on youth development.  

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