Tchoukball is a game that was established as part of an educational study that came from the concern of the many injuries athletes get from sports prone to aggression and physical contact. It was Swiss biologist Dr Herman Brandt that can be credited with creating tchoukball in the 1970s and the purpose of the game was to reduce injuries and contribute to a better and more humane society. It was also created to encourage people of all cultures, backgrounds, genders, and physical stature to feel comfortable to take up the game. It is generally an indoor team sport played on a court measuring 27 metres by 16 metres. A frame like a trampoline measuring one square metre is placed on either end of the court. The frame is within a semi-circle D-shaped zone three metres in radius that is forbidden for any players to enter. A team consists of twelve players with only seven allowed on the court at one time. Players can score at either end of the court and the objective for the attacking player is to throw the ball against the frame.
The ball must bounce outside of the D-shaped zone without anyone from the defending team able to catch it. A point is then awarded. There is no physical contact allowed and defenders can also not intercept the attacking team’s passes. Teams may not pass the ball more than three times before shooting. A player may also not take more than three steps with the ball or hold on to it for more than three seconds. Tchoukball combines aspects of handball (the balls are similar), volleyball, and squash. After nearly fifty years, the sport has grown in popularity and is now played in over fifty countries representing six continents. The Fédération Internationale de Tchoukball (FITB), founded in 1971, is the highest authority and official world governing body for the sport. In 1975 the federation created a program to actively take the sport global and by 1984, Taiwan hosted the first international tournament attended by six countries from two continents.
Five years later, the sport took a significant step forward with the opportunity to be showcased at the World Games at Karlsruhe in Germany, with five nations participating. The year 2000 marked the thirty-year anniversary and heralded a new era for the sport and the 7th FITB World Tchoukball Championship hosted by Geneva. It was attended by six countries from three continents. The first World Championship in 1971 was won by France (men), but since then the Republic of China has been the most dominant nation for both women and men. The sport also features as a World Beach Championship and a World University Championship. Currently, FITB are conducting courses all around the world with the mission to create awareness, train new members, and make tchoukball a truly global team sport. There are currently over sixty full and representative members of the federation. FITB also became an official member of The Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA) in 2019.
Photo: Paolo Bona (Shutterstock)