There are a few popular sports in the world today that are made up of a combination of several disciplines. Examples of these are modern pentathlon, decathlon, biathlon, and triathlon. A racket sport that originated in Finland and Sweden, combines the disciplines of table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis. Racketlon, first played in the 1980s, is played in singles or doubles matches. The first Finnish Championship was played in 1986. The game there is called ‘mailapelit’ (racket games) and was started when four players from each racket federation got together. From there the sport grew rapidly and evolved to the racketlon format of today. In Sweden the first national championship was staged in 1990. Initially, the early Swedish version of the sport adopted a very complicated scoring method. Eventually the Finnish method of each set counting to 21 points, was incorporated and remains as the standard scoring system of today.
A player plays one set against an opponent in each of the four racket sports, starting with the smallest racket and ending in the biggest. Each set is played to a running score of 21 points. In team events the running score is 11 points. The two-point margin applies to win the set. Lots are drawn to decide who starts the table tennis match, and this player will also then start the squash match. Each player will receive two opportunities to serve, except in table tennis. One serve is done from the right side and one from the left side of the table. The winner of a racketlon match is determined by the most points won by a player or a doubles pair. A match is also deemed as completed when a player leads a match with more points than what is still available for an opponent to accumulate. Apart from these rules, all the remaining rules for each individual sport applies.
The Fédération Internationale de Racketlon is the highest recognised world authority for the sport of racketlon. FIR have their headquarters based in Zurich, Switzerland. A major step was taken in global development of the sport when the first ever international racketlon tournament was played in Gothenburg in 2001. FIR was formed just over a year later in September 2002. Today the federation is responsible for rule setting, management of international competitions, and the continual global development of the sport. Apart from World Championships, there is also a World Tour event further adding to the internationalisation of the sport. The list of member nations currently features representation from five continents. At present, racketlon is not part of the Olympic Games program.