Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Racquetball News - Longoria part of Athlete Commission & 2021 World Games

Paola Longoria of Mexico was named to the Athlete Commission of the Pan American Games. The objective of the Athlete Commission is “To represent the voice of Pan American athletes in Panam [sic] Sports and ensure that all needs for their development are met.” For example, the Athlete Commission recently put out a statement supporting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games.

It’s great for a racquetball athlete to be part of this commission, and Longoria is the only athlete from a Pan Am Games only sport to be part of the commission (the other members are from Olympic sports).

2021 World Games

With the change in dates for the 2020 Olympic Games from this year to 2021, we indicated that might effect the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, where racquetball will be on the program. Today comes word confirming this, as the dates for the Olympics now conflict with the World Games dates.

The new Olympic dates are July 23 to August 8, 2021, and the World Games dates were July 15-25, 2021. Not a large overlap, but still enough for the World Games to “urgently review alternative options.” The World Games and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been in “close contact” with the IOC pledging to help the World Games overcome the challenges created by this change in dates.

The possibilities that the World Games are considering are changing “to similar dates in 2022 or to slightly earlier dates in 2021.”

Hopefully, this can be worked out, and racquetball players can participate in a multi-sport event in the USA for the first time ever.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, March 27, 2020

Canadian Championships cancelled

Today Racquetball Canada announced its “made the difficult decision to CANCEL [sic] the 2020 Canadian Championships” that were scheduled for May 17-24 in Brossard, Québec. They “hope to hold a selection event to crown our Open 2020 Canadian Champions in singles and doubles … and select our National team.”

Not a surprising announcement, and confirms that another big event has been effected the current COVID-19 situation.

With this cancellation, Racquetball Canada will be unlikely to send a team to the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships if those go ahead as scheduled in August. They would also need to figure out how to determine a team for the IRF World Junior Championships, if that event goes ahead in November.

As with other cancellations due to COVID-19, this is a sad decision, but the appropriate one given the current conditions.

We're not sure how this situation is going to end, let alone when. But we look forward to once again being able to...

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, March 23, 2020

USAR cancels 2020 National Singles & National Junior Championships

Late today, USA Racquetball sent an email announcing the “difficult but appropriate decision to cancel the National Singles and National Junior Championships scheduled for May and June, respectively” (bold in the original). This is a change from last Wednesday, when USA Racquetball was “fully committed to hosting” those championships.

We thought their commitment was optimistic, and unfortunately that optimism has not been rewarded.

National Singles and the National Junior Championships are USA Team selection events, so alternative arrangements will need to be made to select the US teams. USA Racquetball is “discussing approaches” to how that could be accomplished. Of course, if the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships (scheduled for August) and World Junior Championships (scheduled for November) are cancelled, then determining US Team members would be unnecessary.

While cancelling the IRF events may seem unlikely, the COVID-19 situation has created a great deal of uncertainty in the world. So much so, that Canada and Australia announced yesterday that they would not be sending athletes to the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo if it starts as scheduled on July 24. There is a generally feeling - though no official announcement - that the Olympics will be postponed, maybe even by a year.

While that seems like a good idea, it will have other ramifications. Most Olympic sports are set up on a 4 year - quadrennial - cycle based on when the Olympics occur. There are smaller games that build up to the Olympics. In the Americas, there’s the Central American Games one year, the Central American & Caribbean Games, the next, then the Pan American Games in year three and the Olympics in year four. Moving the Olympics can throw that off.

Also, moving the Olympics can create conflicts with other events. For example, athletics - aka track and field - holds its World Championships every two years in odd numbered years. The 2021 Athletics World Championships are scheduled for August 6-15 in Eugene, Oregon.

Back within racquetball, the 2020 IRF World Championships are also supposed to be the qualification event for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama. If Worlds, don’t happen, then it’s unclear how players will qualify for the World Games. Bigger picture, if the Olympics do happen in 2021, then they may conflict with the World Games, which probably won’t make people in Birmingham happy, and there would be less attention for an event that will feature racquetball.

So, COVID-19 has changed our current conditions, and will for some time. But COVID-19 will also have a “hangover” for future conditions, as we recover from it.

We wish you the best in these current conditions, and that any hangovers are minimal.

Follow the bouncing ball….