Sunday, August 10, 2008

World Championships - Bolivia Breaks Through!

It seems Bolivia has made a major breakthough in the team event at the 14th IRF Racquetball World Championships in Kingscourt, Ireland, although the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) hasn't released official final team standings yet.

However, here's what it looks like based on what can be gleamed from the results on R2Sports:

Women's Team Standings
1. USA
2. Bolivia
3. Canada
4. Chile
5. Mexico
6. Japan
7/8. Korea/Venezuela
9. Ecuador
10. Germany
11/12. Guatemala/Ireland

The improvement from two years ago on the women's side was Bolivia - who moved up from 6th two years ago to 2nd this year - and that was directly at the expense of Japan - who was down from 3rd to 6th, as Boliva defeated Japan in the quarter finals. (note: we didn't see results for a 7/8 playoff or 11/12 playoff, so those teams are listed together).

Men's Team Standings
1. USA
2. Mexico
3. Canada
4. Bolivia
5. Costa Rica
5. Japan
5. Venezuela
5. Ecuador

There are no results for a 5-8 playoff on the R2Sports site that we can see, which is why we've put a four way tie at number 5. Nevertheless, both Japan and Ecuador improved their standing from the 2006 Worlds by getting into the quarter finals.

But the big event was Bolivia breaking through to the semi-finals, which was at the expense of Venezuela, who they beat in the quarter-finals.

Overall Team Standings

Pending an IRF official release the overall standings are uncertain. USA was certainly number 1. But who's number two is unclear.

It could be either Bolivia, with a 2nd in women's and a 4th in men's (average of 3.0), or Canada, which finished 3rd in each (average of 3.0). Mexico probably wasn't 2nd overall, as they were 2nd in men's and 5th in women's for an average of 3.5.

Assuming Bolivia is 2nd or 3rd, it will mark the first time since 1986 that a country other than the USA, Canada or Mexico has finished in the top three. In 1986, the overall order was USA in first, Canada second, Japan third and Mexico fourth.

If Bolivia is 2nd overall, it'll be the first time a country outside the Big Three hasn't been second. In fact, it would be the first time Canada hasn't been 1st or 2nd overall since they began participating in Worlds in 1984. In 1981, Mexico was second to the USA.

This is a huge achievement for the Bolivian team, and a good thing for racquetball.

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