If you build it, they will play: teqball increases outreach through youth sport partnership in Los Angeles

Teqball continues to expand its footprint in Los Angeles ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics. The sport was recently included in a youth sports initiative meant to increase opportunities for kids living in disadvantaged communities.

Csaba Banyik of Hungary in action at the Teqball World Championships in Budapest, Hungary December 6, 2019. Picture taken December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Tamas Kaszas
Csaba Banyik of Hungary in action at the Teqball World Championships in Budapest, Hungary December 6, 2019. Picture taken December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Tamas Kaszas

The International Teqball Federation (FITEQ) revealed it was selected to feature in the LA28 Organizing Committee’s Youth Sport Partnership (YSP) Agreement with the City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners for the second year in a row last month.

The move strengthened teqball’s presence in the city ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics, while solidifying the federation’s outreach efforts in the United States.

FITEQ Chairman Viktor Huszár commented on the announcement, stating, “teqball’s development in the U.S. continues to go from strength to strength and our involvement in the YSP program in Los Angeles gives us further impetus on our journey to grow the sport across the country.”

The YSP will see teqball, along with other sports such as rowing, golf, surfing, athletics, judo, tennis, skateboarding, equestrian and taekwondo, introduced into local communities, with a particular focus on facilitating opportunities for disadvantaged communities according to FITEQ.

LA28 will set aside $17.5 million in funding for the program with the goal of establishing an early legacy for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.

Teqball USA qualifiers (FITEQ)
Teqball USA qualifiers (FITEQ)

In his comments following the announcement, Huszár noted the sports continued presence in Los Angeles and California, stating, “earlier this year FITEQ launched the USA Teqball Tour, which recently visited Los Angeles after the first stop in San Diego.”

“The tour, which features the best players from all over the world, is being broadcast on ESPN. This is having a major impact in our efforts to reach young sports fans and athletes in the U.S.”

It certainly raises the prospect of Olympic inclusion for the quickly growing sport. However, Huszár made it clear that wasn’t the top item on the sport’s agenda during an interview with Around the Rings last month.

“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 L.A. are just great hosts,” remarked Huszár.

Nonetheless, the sport continues to increase its influence in the Olympic sphere, becoming a member of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) in 2020 and an increasingly popular inclusion on the sports programs of international multi-sports competitions such as the European Games and African Games.

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LA28 CEO Kathy Carter recently explained the process of developing the sports program for the 2028 Summer Olympics, telling Around the Rings, “we’ve undertaken a really thorough exercise, both around new sports, but also even with the existing sports and disciplines, to really understand what the scale, the opportunity, and the impact on LA and on our country could be.”

She noted, “we have an opportunity, but we don’t actually have an obligation to put new sports in. So, we’re still determining whether that’s going to be something that we’re going to do.”

Whether or not teqball ultimately gets selected for the world’s biggest sporting event is a question left to the future. What’s clear now is that the sport aims to have an impact on Los Angeles regardless of that decision.

Explaining the allure of teqball during an interview with Around the Rings last month, U.S. National Teqball Federation President Ajay Nwosu stated, “the inclusion part is very important, but the way it draws an audience is by having people try it.”

That thesis will be put to test when youth athletes are introduced to the sport through the YSP over the next year.

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