23 Jun 2020

Interview: Pernille Ingvaldsen Smith and Henriette Ingvaldsen (Norway)

Interview: Pernille Ingvaldsen Smith and Henriette Ingvaldsen (Norway)


Pernille Ingvaldsen Smith and twin sister Henriette Ingvaldsen made history at the 2019 Teqball World Championships, becoming the first-ever female only doubles team to compete in a World Championships (in the doubles category).The Norwegian twins come from a football and footvolley background and were crowned European Footvolley champions in October 2019. As teqball starts to take off in Norway, Pernille and Henriette will be at the heart of the sport’s growth. In this interview, they share their experiences of teqball so far and how they see the sport developing in the future.

Do you remember the first time you experienced the curved table?

(PI) Yes, the first time was during the warmup session before the first game in the World Championship 2019!

Coming from a football background. Why do you think teqball is addictive?

(PI) From the perspective of two technical footvolley players and former footballers who love to freestyle and dribble on and off the field, it is easy to convert these skills to another technical sport. The addictions lie in the competitiveness, and the frequent, spectacular ball exchanges.

Do you think teqball can lead to more equality between female and male athletes than there currently is in football?

(HI) Yes, without a doubt. FITEQ has done a tremendous job in being attentive towards females. Having equal pay and equal focus on female and male players gives us women motivation and makes it easier to prioritise this amazing sport.

What are the most important skills or strengths that you think are essential when playing teqball and what are the transferable skills and techniques that you can bring from football?

(PI & HI) There are a number of transferable skills, notably in technique, cooperation (in doubles), focus, fast thinking and tactical skills.

You participated in the 2019 Teqball World Championships as the first ever women-only doubles team. How was this experience for you?

(HI) Amazing. We didn’t have any expectations to win matches seeing as we had very little experience playing teqball (although we had experience playing footvolley). We loved the atmosphere and are very grateful to be a part of the teqball community. Being an all-women’s team was a great experience, we felt very welcome and were taken seriously. There are not many sports where the organisers of a World Championship will let female and male players compete in the same class and equally appreciate them. FITEQ is definitely a future-oriented federation.

How has your game developed since the 2019 World Championships? Have you been able to find a way to practice in Norway?

(PI) In all of Norway, we so far have one Teq Lite table. Four friends and footvolley lovers (including us) bought a table and shared the cost. The table arrived right after the COVID-19 crisis hit Norway, so we have only recently started practicing. We want to keep developing, and hopefully we will get to practice more in the upcoming weeks. We joined forces with a large soccer and youth club here in Oslo, Norway called Sagene IF. They have applied for funding from the city of Oslo to buy three more tables. Hopefully these tables will be accessible sometime this summer. Since we are now part of a large soccer/youth club, having a table has generated interest among young people. Also, when or wherever we play, people seem interested and want to try. I believe that teqball in Norway has great potential with some promotional work.

During practice, are there any special rules you apply to make the game more difficult?

(PI & HI) No, we follow the official rules, which makes the game difficult enough as it is!

Do you have a favourite teqball player, or someone who you found impressive for their talent?

(PI & HI) Natalia Guitler (Brazil) Such an exceptional technical virtuoso, to see a female player play at the same level as the best men is extremely inspiring. Csaba Bányik (Hungary) – Extremely precise and forceful player. Marcos Viera (Brazil) - Also extremely precise, and such a calm player. It seems like he never misses a ball and saves the unsavable ones.

Please name a sportsperson that you would nominate to be a future teqball ambassador in your country. What could make him/her TEQ?

(PI) - Caroline Graham Hansen – Probably the most technical female player from Norway, playing for Barcelona. One of the greatest female football players in the world, in my opinion.  

(HI) - Ada Stolsmo Hegerberg and Andrine Stolsmo Hegerberg – Also two of the best footballers from Norway, and sisters. They play for Olympique Lyonnais, and A.S. Roma Women, respectively. Ada also won the Ballon d’Or Féminin in 2018.

(PI) - Martin Ødegård – The youngest player who ever represented Real Madrid (2015).  He has done very well for Real Sociedad (on loan from Real Madrid).

(HI) - Erling Breut Håland – Borussia Dortmund’s 19-year-old Norwegian goal getter.

How do you assess and see the potential of teqball in Norway?

(PI) Teqball has a lot of potential, but so far very few people have ever seen or heard about it. Hopefully that will change soon.

How did the spread of COVID-19 and the pandemic situation change your everyday sporting life?

(PI) The country was basically in lockdown for three months. Playing sports that require more than one player was therefore not possible. This means there unfortunately was a drastic reduction in practice hours for all team sports.

What is your goal for 2020 related to teqball?

(PI & HI) We have several goals. Firstly, we want to generate more interest in teqball in Norway and recruit more female and male players. It is also important to acquire more Teq tables to give people more opportunities to play. From a playing perspective, we want to attend the 2020 World Championships (if the COVID-19 situation allows for the event to happen) and play in the first-ever all female doubles and single classes in a World Championships. Lastly, we want to finish in the top three in mixed doubles in the World Championships, but this one we know will be tough!