08 Jul 2024

New season brought new questions

After three Teqball World Series and one Teqball Tour event, let’s recap what we learned from the first part of the season so far.

After three Teqball World Series and one Teqball Tour event, let’s recap what we learned from the first part of the season so far.

The first international event of 2024 was held in May at the well-known Plaza de Espana in the heart of Madrid. Only two weeks later, for the first time in history Asian was home to a Teqball World Series tournament. Quy Nhon, Vietnam was put on the FITEQ map with jam-packed grandstands and astonishing matches. The very next Friday, the third Teqball World Series started. Tulsa, Oklahoma hosted another milestone as this was the first TWS on the American continent and the international federation also celebrated the Teqball project anniversary in the “oil capital of the world”.

The field returned to Europe as Grindsted, with the first Danish international event chosen to welcome the athletes as a Category III. event, Teqball Tour.

Can somebody stop Apor Gyorgydeak?

Three events out of four consisted of men’s singles and the outcome was always the same, the world champion of 2022 dominated all of them. The Romanian only lost one set in his eighteen matches, thus staying unbeaten since the season started and triumphed on both occasions. Behind him, the world and European bronze medallist Hugo Rabeux (FRA) gathered one silver and one bronze medal while missing the event in Quy Nhon. Boonkoom Tipwong who showed his talent last year in doubles did not play in Grinsdted, yet finished twice on the podium while delivering a massive surprise in Madrid when the Thai beat the record-champion Adam Blazsovics (HUN) and also knocked out one the top talents, the Polish Marek Pokwap in the Spanish capital.

The world silver medallist of 2021 Julien Grondin returned to the table after more than a year of hiatus due to an injury, as he slowly warms up, he can be a new challenger in this category, however current title-holder, King of Teqball, the Polish Adrian Duszak still stays in the shadow as he did not compete at FITEQ events in 2024 yet.

Apor Gyorgydeak in the final at the Plaza de Espana

It is Kuntatong’s year?

Although in women’s singles, the opponents faced only two-times each other and the Queen of Teqball, Raffaela Fontes (BRA) is yet to debut in 2024 one thing seems to be clear: Jutatip Kuntatong’s silver medal at the World Teqball Championships 2023 was not a one-hit-wonder.  In Madrid, only the FITEQ World Ranking 18th Agnieszka Rybicka (POL) stole a set from the Thai during the group stage while she left the world champion of 2022, Carolyn Greco speechless after Kuntatong won the first set by 12 to 0 in the Quarterfinals and advanced where she let only 9 points to Europe’s best, Kinga Barabasi (ROU). In the final at the Plaza de Espana, with a confident gameplan one of the two players of FITEQ’s most-watched video of 2023, Kuntatong finished the job against Anna Izsak, the Queen of 2021.

After finishing second at the European championships and fifth at the worlds of 2023, Amelie Julian geared up and won against Izsak for the first time. Although the Hungarian beat her in Madrid, Julian overcame the loss in Grindsted and got the victory in three sets. Then, in the final Barabasi showed the world that in Europe she is still the Queen of Teqball as no other country’s players competed in this category.

Amelie Julian (right) against Kinga Barabasi (left) in women's singles final at Teqball Tour Grindsted.

New feature to appreciate Teqball athletes

Teqball, in the project's 10th year, implements a new feature: The Best Teqball Athlete of the Event award. It will be bestowed upon the most exceptional players after the culmination of the final matches, adding an extra layer of excitement to the event's climax. What sets this award apart is the unique selection method, which involves three distinct client groups, each contributing a percentage to the final decision. One of the client groups is the fans who can vote on fiteq.org during the competition. Each occasion gathered thousands of votes and the most eager fans are from Hungary, Thailand, India and Brazil. After three rounds, there was always a new Best Male/Female Athlete crowned but this might change in Qingdao. About the method and the winner, more information can be found here.

Jutatip Kuntatong's unstoppable performance with two golds in Madrid earned her the very first Best Female Athlete of the Event title.

Did we find the kryptonite of Banyik/Katz?

The world and European champion duo Csaba Banyik & Balazs Katz (HUN) of men’s doubles missed only Teqball World Series Tulsa as the WTCH Hungarian qualifier was organised on the same weekend. Although they swept the field both in Madrid and Grindsted, the pair of Adam Bako/Matyas Odnoga once again stopped them. Their compatriots provided Banyik/Katz’s only loss in 2023 and in Quy Nhon they meant repeatedly the last game for Banyik/Katz. In Tulsa, the three-time world champion Serbs were unstoppable but they are focusing on bigger goals. "We have prepared with special care to Tulsa. We want to sit back on the throne of men's doubles at the world championships and in Tulsa we were able to execute some of our new gamestlyes." emphasized Bogdan Marojevic, after the victory. Besides the world champion silver medallists from Thailand Phakpong Dejaroen/Boonkoom Tipwong who won in Quy Nhon, another duo arose. Jirati Chanliang & Sorrasak Thaosiri second in Vietnam and third in Madrid.

Jirati Chanliang/Sorrasak Thaosiri (red) attacking against their compatriots Phakpong Dejaroen/Boonkoom Tipwong in the men's doubles final of Teqball World Series Quy Nhon.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Women’s doubles category was not played in Quy Nhon but the power ranking seems to be clear. The world champion Thais, Jutatip Kuntatong & Suphawadi Wongkhamchan. They competed only in Madrid but took the victory confidently. In the final, against Krisztina Acs & Gabriella Kota. The Hungarians then triumphed in Grindsted, Denmark against the world champion bronze medallist compatriots, Petra Pechy & Nora Vicsek who finished in third place in Madrid. As the Hungarian qualifier affected every local athlete and the Thais did not travel to the American continent, new winners were crowned. One of the most experienced doubles Ester Viana Mendes & Vania Moraes da Cruz who already played 49 games together added one more trophy to the collection against the newly formed pair Greco/Barabasi.

Suphawadi Wongkhamchan is executing the undefendable bicycle kick in Madrid.

Teqball is more than a sport

In a heartwarming twist during Teqball World Series Quy Nhon, mixed doubles match, Georgios Milonas of Greece surprised his partner, Paraskevi Stafilidou, with a marriage proposal that left fans, referees, and opponents applauding in admiration. This unique proposal, which blended the thrill of sport with the romance of a lifetime commitment, showcased the deep bond between the two athletes both on and off the court.

The moment was chosen to be the Photo of the Day at Teqball World Series Quy Nhon.

The Hungarian set the bar high

The world champions of 2023 Dejaroen/Wongkhamchan did not win any single FITEQ event this season yet. When the Hungarians competed, they won. Either Acs/Banyik or Katz/Kota, twice the first duo, once the latter. Besides the Thais and the Hungarians a newly formed couple seems to be powerful enough to create disturbance in the force. Barabasi/Gyorgydeak debuted in Madrid but lost in the Quarterfinals against the world champ Thais, then in Tulsa they won the competition while in Grindsted they faced Katz/Kota in the finals and lost in three. Although they do not have too much experience together the goals are clear as Barabasi highlighted in Tulsa: “As we both play singles, it makes our duo unpredictable, not to mention that Gyorgydeak is right-footed and I'm left-footed. This triumph secured us that we are on the right path to reaching this year's goal, being the world champions in mixed doubles”.

Acs/Banyik celebrates in Quy Nhon.

The next international FITEQ event will be held in China PR. The Teqball World Series Qingdao will start on the 19th of July where two powerhouses' best athletes Thailand and Hungary along with the big returner, the French Grondin who ganged up with Bartlomiej Franczuk in 2024 with a very spectacular game style.