Mumbai

Four sports in one event: Racketlon to swing into city

Pioneers: (From left) Commander Ashutosh Pednekar, FIR president Duncan Stahl and RISA president, Kaushal Kumar Cheema.

Pioneers: (From left) Commander Ashutosh Pednekar, FIR president Duncan Stahl and RISA president, Kaushal Kumar Cheema.  

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Table tennis, badminton, squash, tennis are played in sequence; federation surveys Mumbai clubs

Racketlon is set to enter the Mumbai sports scene, specifically at the club level. The multi-sport event involves people taking part in table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis in that order before the winner is decided on overall points. Matches feature singles, doubles players engaging in 21 points-per-match-per-sport encounters. Outdoor fitness freaks take part in the triathlon (combination of long-distance swimming, cycling and running).

Gujarat hosted a racketlon competition last year, Rajasthan is slated to host an international event this year.

“It is a new sport being introduced in the city and we are looking to activate interest in Mumbai clubs. We are targeting members passionate about table tennis, badminton, squash or tennis, as each of these sports is popular in India. This is a new opportunity for those good at one or two disciplines and ready to try their hand at adapting to the others,” said Racketlon India Sports Federation (RISA) president, Kaushal Kumar Cheema.

Mr. Cheema, a former badminton international player, said there were various age categories for participants. “The idea is to challenge sports enthusiasts in clubs, at the same time create an opportunity for all-rounders to excel in a sport combining four disciplines. Every club member playing one of these four sports may or may not get to the top in his or her chosen sport,” he said.

The RISA chief was accompanied by president of Federation of International Rackletlon (FIR), Duncan Stahl, during the Mumbai clubs survey. The Englishman is an accomplished international player in the four-in-one sport. “Interest in racketlon will bring in more members into other sports. Clubs with facilities for squash or tennis will find enthusiasts ready to try out badminton or table tennis. The more you train in a sport new to you, the better you will get.”

Mr. Cheema and Mr. Stahl pointed to the fact that there was no dearth of talent in the city. Commander Ashutosh Pednekar from the Indian Navy, for instance, was a participant in 45-plus age group. The 48-year-old specialises in badminton, took part in the men’s doubles (partnering Kiran Makhode) and mixed doubles (with Naheed Divecha as partner) competition at the World Seniors Badminton Championships last year, organised by the Badminton World Federation in Katowice, Poland.

Mumbai-based Mr. Pednekar has also represented India in racketlon. He was a member of the Indian team, which won the Challenge shield last year, beating Austria in the final at the 17th World Racketlon Championships in Leipzig, Germany. Udaipur will host the country’s first international event, India Open Racketlon Challenger, from January 11 to 13. Matches will be held for 21 points in each of four sports. The event has attracted 57 entries from India and abroad.

Racketlon rules stipulate that a match starts with table tennis. Badminton and squash are second and third in the sequence, while the match ends with tennis. Mr. Stahl revealed that the rationale was to move from smaller racquets to bigger ones, and Mr. Pednekar said moving from lighter racquets (table tennis) to heavier ones (tennis) is easier on the hand.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 12:08:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/four-sports-in-one-event-rackleton-to-swing-into-city/article30518548.ece

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