By Marton Dunai
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary showed it remains the dominant force in teqball, a hybrid sport mixing football with table tennis, winning the singles and doubles world titles on Sunday.
Adam Blazsovics easily won the singles title and teamed up with Csaba Banyik to take home the doubles gold in Budapest.
Hungary’s dominance comes as little surprise as the country invented the sport, which had its first tournament five years ago and its third world championships this year.
Teqball, the brainchild of former professional soccer player Gabor Borsanyi and computer scientist Viktor Huszar, is played on a downward-sloping, knee-high table and involves spectacular long kicks, dribbles and explosive headers.
The competition drew an enthusiastic crowd of about 2,000 to a side hall attached to second division soccer club Vasas.
Blazsovics beat Poland’s Adrian Duszak in two straight sets for the singles gold, while he and Banyik also needed only two sets to defeat Montenegro in the doubles.
“We have trained very hard for this, practising four times a week for singles, doubles and mixed doubles as well,” Blazsovics told Reuters. “We give it our all, including the technical skills that we all bring from football to teqball.”
Hungary did not complete a clean sweep, however, as Brazil won the mixed doubles in the first staging of the mixed gender event. The singles and doubles are open to athletes of any gender.
After finishing fourth in the doubles event last year, Brazil’s footvolley world champion Natalia Guitler teamed up with Marcos Viera to edge Hungary in a tight final.
“This is not my first sport… I do not practise at all,” Guitler told Reuters. “I am really glad to win this game and be the first woman to win a (teqball) championship in the world. It is my mission to have more women playing football.”
(Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Toby Davis)