Unique Sports Advent Calendar – December 3: Tchoukball

This one was written with less than eight hours before it was due. (Schoolwork means I’ve got these things catching up to me.)

History

Tchoukball was invented by Hermann Brandt, a Swiss biologist. He worried about the numerous serious injuries among athletes from sports involving aggression and physical contact, and had a theory that sports should not only form champions, but contribute to a better and more humane society. That’s an interesting theory, as far as these things go, and he wrote about it in a paper called Etude scientifique des sports d’équipe. Here’s an English translation that isn’t very good because it was just made in Google Translate.

His sport was designed to contain elements of handball, volleyball, and squash, and the Féderation Internationale de Tchoukball was founded on June 5, 1971, shortly before Brandt passed away in November 1972.

The first international tournament was either held in 1970 (in Switzerland, won by France) or 1984 (in the Republic of China, with both the men and women from that country winning), depending on whether you listen to Wikipedia or the FITB archive.

How to Play

Get a 27x17m court. (If you’re playing beach tchoukball, get one that’s 21x12m.) You’ll also need two rebound frames (like a Crazy Catch, one for each end) and a ball (like a handball).

Draw a 3m radius semicircle around the frames. This is the forbidden zone, and going in there is, for obvious reasons, forbidden.

You need two teams of seven players each (two right wings, two left wings, two forward pivots and a centre pivot). Each player can take three steps with the ball before passing it, and they can only make three passes before shooting. To score a point, you need to throw the ball at the frame (either frame!) and catch it on the rebound. If you miss the frame, or the ball doesn’t make it out of the forbidden zone on the full, the other team gets a point, though.

If the ball bounces in the forbidden zone, goes out of the court, is dropped, or is held by one player for more than three seconds, it goes to the other team. It’s also strictly non-contact, so don’t touch the opposition or it’s a foul.

Who’s on Top?

The Eighth World Tchoukball Championships took place in the Republic of China in 2015. The hosts won, going undefeated through the group stage and beating Malaysia 68-32 in the semi final and Singapore 65-41 in the final. To show how dominant they are, their B team went undefeated in the group stage.

2015 World Championships – Men’s Top 3

  1. Republic of China
  2. Singapore
  3. Italy

In the women’s, meanwhile, the result was similar, with the Republic of China going undefeated in the group stage and beating Singapore in the final, 50-34 this time.

2015 World Championships – Women’s Top 3

  1. Republic of China
  2. Singapore
  3. United Kingdom

FITB also have rankings for men and women.

Tchoukball World Rankings – Men’s, accurate to September 1, 2016 (points)

  1. Republic of China (493)
  2. Singapore (404)
  3. Italy (315)
  4. Macao (249)
  5. Malaysia (227)

Tchoukball World Rankings – Women’s, accurate to September 1, 2016 (points)

  1. Republic of China (452)
  2. Singapore (319)
  3. United Kingdom (286)
  4. Hong Kong (266)
  5. Macao (192)

Australia

Australia is not a member of the FITB, and a Google search showed nothing of any relevance.

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