Racketlon

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Racketlon
Official Racketlon logo.jpg
Highest governing body Fédération Internationale de Racketlon
First played 1980s
Characteristics
Contact No
Team members Single or doubles
Type Racquet sport
Equipment table tennis racket, celluloid, badminton racquet, shuttlecock, squash racquet, squash ball, tennis racquet, tennis ball
Presence
Olympic none

Racketlon is a combination sport where competitors play a sequence of the four most popular racket sports: table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis. It originated in Finland and Sweden[1] and was modeled on other combination sports like the triathlon and decathlon.

Rules[edit]

In Racketlon you compete against an opponent, or a doubles pair, in each of the four biggest racket sports; table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis.

One set is played in each sport, in the order from the smallest to the biggest Racket. Each of the four sets are played with running score to 21 points, with a margin of two points needed to finish a set. In team competitions however, the individual matches are played to 11 points.

Each player serves two serves at a time, and except from table tennis, this is always one serve from the right side and one serve from the left side of the court. Lots are drawn to decide who starts serving in table tennis, and this player will also start serving in squash.

The winner of a racketlon match, is the player or doubles pair, who has won the most points in total. When a player leads a match with more points, than there are points left for the opponent to obtain, the match is over.

If the score is tied after all 4 sports, a "gummiarm"-point is played. This is a single extra point played in tennis, with only one serve to start off the rally. Lots are drawn to decide the server, and the winner of the rally, wins the entire match.

In doubles, the squash set is played individually. One player from each pair plays until one of the players reach 11 points. From here, the rest of the game is finished by the two remaining players.

With the exception of the above-mentioned rules, all rules that apply to the four individual sports, also apply for racketlon.[2]

History[edit]

In 1929, Fred Perry, won the table tennis world championships. 5 years later he won three consecutive Wimbledon titles, and also became the first player ever to win all 4 grand slams. Little did he know, that he was a Racketlon pioneer.

The first known multi racket sports probably originated somewhat simultaneously and independently in different European countries, although suggestions have been made that the more organised form of racketlon, had Finland and Sweden as pioneering countries.

In the mid 1980s in Finland, a member from each of the 4 national racket federations got together and formed the game called ”mailapelit”. In mailapelit the order of play was determined by a draw, and the scoring system was like we know it today. The first Finnish national championships were held in Helsinki in 1986.

In Sweden, racketlon can be traced back to the late 1980s, where the first tournaments where organized by Peter Landberg who later invented the name Racketlon. Before that, the game was called ”racketmäskerskap”, meaning racket championships. The first Swedish national championship were held in 1990. To begin with, the original counting methods of the individual sports was preserved. To decide the winner of a match, complicated conversion tables were used. The simpler Finnish scoring system was adopted in 1994 at the Swedish national championship. In Swedish competitions there were a fixed order of play starting with table tennis, then squash, then badminton and finally tennis. In order to simplify the sport, the order was later changed to the current format, going from the smallest to the biggest racket. This order also minimised the squash players advantages of running their opponents tired. In the beginning, each player would serve 5 serves at a time. Later on, this was changed to the current format of 2 serves at a time, to make the number of serves in a set more equally distributed.

Other European countries also had multi racket sports forming at this point of time. Germany had their ”Mehrslägerturniere”, Austria their ”Racket 4 kampf”, France had their ”Tournoi des Quatre Raquettes” and in Belgium they had their ”King of Rackets” tournament. This tournament was a huge knock-out tournament played in groups. In England there are vague traces of something called Quintathlon that included golf.

In 2001 the first ever international racketlon tournament took place. It was the Gothenburg Racketlon World Open in Sweden, and it was considered the first ever world championships in racketlon. There were participants from 6 countries (Finland, Sweden, Scotland, France, Germany and Bulgaria), and Finland won it all. Katja Aminoff became the first ever female World Champion in Racketlon, and Mikko Kärkkäinen the first ever male World Champion. On the way to his victory, he defeated the Swede Magnus Eliasson in the quarterfinal, and that match became their first encounter in a year-long rivalry. International participants from the 2001 World Championship, then traveled home and became local racketlon pioneers themselves, by arranging international tournaments in their own countries. Since then one milestone after another have been reached. The first official World ranking system was introduced right after the 2001 World Championship. The first international racketlon tournament in Finland was played in 2002, and same year the first ever Racketlon tournament outside Scandinavia took place in Scotland. English Open also had its debut in 2002. At the second World Championships in Gothenburg 2002, a National team competition was added for the first time. The premiere of the International World Tour was in 2003, and in 2005 competitions in doubles were made possible. The international Racketlon Federation (IRF) was formed in 2003, and changed name to Fédération Internationale de Racketlon (FIR) in 2005.[3][4]

Tournaments[edit]

Currently (June 2016), the International World Tour contains 23 events divided into 6 challengers, 12 International World Tour tournaments, 2 Super World Tour tournaments and 3 World Championships (singles, doubles and national teams).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dita Salavová (4 June 2007). "Czechs among superpowers in fast growing sport of racketlon". Czech Radio. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Rules | Federation Internationale de Racketlon". www.racketlon.net. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 
  3. ^ "The history of Racketlon". www.racketlon.com. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 
  4. ^ "FIR History | Federation Internationale de Racketlon". www.racketlon.net. Retrieved 2016-06-16. 

External links[edit]