Santa Monica, California is a hub for many sports in the Los Angeles area. Scenes of beach volleyball, skateboarding, and surfing dot the shoreline of this world famous beach community, however, with the 2028 Summer Olympics on the horizon a new sport has appeared alongside those more traditional Southern California stalwarts, teqball.
The new addition was spurred into life by a stop on the USA Teqball Tour. Some of the world’s best teqball athletes graced the sands of Santa Monica with their presence at the latest competition on Fédération Internationale de Teqball’s (FITEQ) calendar of competitions.
Two such athletes were Carolyn Greco and Margaret Osmundson, members of the local BellaTeq club. While winning the latest stop of the USA Teqball Tour was no doubt on their minds, there was also another long term goal the pair were hoping to accomplish, Olympic participation.
Osmundson admitted, “obviously, it’s a little out of our hands with the 2028 Olympics.”
Teqball has never been included on the sports program for the Olympic Games, in fact, the sport has not had many opportunities to be included on the program, as it was only conceived in 2012. Nonetheless, the infant sport’s meteoric rise in popularity and quick ascension to membership within the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) has raised the possibility of Olympic inclusion.
Despite the hurdles that would need to be cleared for teqball’s eventual inclusion in the Olympic Games, Greco and Osmundson remained hopeful about a chance to compete during the LA28 Summer Olympics.
Greco commented, “that would be everything for us. That’s ultimately our dream, our goal. What we’re striving for, working for everyday, is hopefully to play at the top level, which would mean at the Summer Olympics in 2028.”
She added, “to have it here in Los Angeles is particularly meaningful for us just because I was born and raised in Southern California…it would just mean everything for us.”
“Yeah, I think we set a goal,” said Osmundson. “First [was] to reach the World Cup; we’ve already achieved that. Obviously, it’s a little out of our hands with the 2028 Olympics.”
She explained, “we’re just participants…so we’re hoping that [a] big movement happens towards that to be able to actually have that second part of our goals, which is going to be the 2028 Olympics.”
Osmundson noted, “we’re going to be 35 at that point, but with this sport - age, gender - there’s no limitations. Anyone can play. It’s very inclusive; very equal on the playing field with men and women, so the limitations are obviously not existent for us.”
U.S. National Teqball Federation President Ajay Nwosu told Around the Rings, “the inclusion part is very important, but the way it draws an audience is by having people try it.”
When asked what the key was to getting more people involved in the still young sport, Nwosu responded, “Education. Education as far as teaching them the rules of the sport, but also just the potential of it. Because when I say education, you have to try the sport. Once you try it, then that’s when it clicks for you.”
Just like Greco and Osmundson, Nwosu was also optimistic about the idea of Olympic inclusion. He commented, “I think this is a huge exhibition for us here in Santa Monica, and it adds towards our purpose and calling towards Olympic inclusion.”
“As you can tell just by the amazement of the crowd here today, people love it. They’re perplexed by it, and now they buy [into] it as well. I think that all adds to the elements within teqball and why we’re different from many other sports. It kind of pushes our calls for that potential Olympic inclusion.”
Teqball co-founder and FITEQ Chairmen Viktor Huszár was also in Santa Monica to take in the sport’s moment under the Southern California sun.
He commented further on teqball’s uniqueness from other sports on the Olympic sports program, stating, “if you look at football, you are waiting every 90 minutes for moments; the goals, the nice dribbling skills of the best players. In teqball, we have that at every minute, so it brings you the best moment[s] of football, but it happens much more often, so it’s more action packed.”
“Table tennis, on average, has around three or four seconds of game play, but teqball has much longer game play and it intensifies the emotions of the sport.”
He concluded, “altogether, I think the nature of this sport is what every sport athlete has - this inner child inside - and that brings it back from the streets and from their bringing up. Every football player used to play some form of foot tennis, or keep-ups and so on, and we just created an amazing platform where they are able to compete.”
However, Olympic inclusion wasn’t the most pressing item on teqball’s agenda according to Huszár. He stated, “we would like to be exposed, but it’s more important that the sport is growing organically, and the U.S. is a key market. We see that Santa Monica and LA are just great hosts.”
Whether or not those hosting abilities lead to teqball’s inclusion on the Olympic sports program remains to be seen, however, it is clear that the sport’s upward trajectory is leading towards Olympic dreams.