Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Preview of Racquetball at The World Games 2022

The 2022 edition of The World Games begins later this week in Birmingham, Alabama, with the racquetball competition to begin on Sunday July 10. Sixteen men and sixteen women will compete for gold in Birmingham, and they qualified based on results from the 2021 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in Guatemala. These games were supposed to take place last year, but were pushed back because of the COVID pandemic.

Racquetball was included in the first World Games back in 1981 in Santa Clara, California, and 2022 marks the first time The World Games have been back in the USA or even in North America since then. Racquetball has been in The World Games five times previously with the last time being nine years ago in Cali, Colombia, which was just the second time The World Games have been in the Americas.

The USA has won more racquetball medals at The World Games than any other nation, including 7 of the 10 gold medals, although none of the finalists from 9 years ago were American. Two Mexicans faced off in the men’s final with Polo Gutierrez defeating Gilberto Mejia, 11-10, in the tie-breaker, while fellow Mexican Paola Longoria also needed a tie-breaker to win World Games gold for the 2nd time, and ruin the Cinderella story of Colombian Cristina Amaya, who was playing at home and got to the final despite being the 15th seed.

Longoria will be the top seed again in the women’s draw, which will also include Amaya. But Gutierrez and Mejia have retired from competition. Indeed, only one man from 2013 will be in the 2022 draw: Felipe Camacho of Costa Rica. Two other women from 2013 are in the draw with Longoria and Amaya: American Rhonda Rajsich and Chilean Carla Muñoz.

There should be some great matches in Birmingham, especially as the tournament progresses. Of the last eight matches in 2013 - the semi-finals, 3rd place and final matches for both men and women - six of them went to a tie-breaker: all four of the men’s matches and two of the women’s matches went breaker. In the two women’s matches that didn’t go to a tie-breaker, the second game was 15-14. Hopefully, we’ll see matches that close in Birmingham.

Event format

The men’s Round of 16 will be on July 10 with the women’s 16s on July 11. Then the quarterfinals and semi-finals will be July 12 and the finals on July 13. We believe there will be 3rd place matches as well on the 13th.

The main court from the US Open will be used for the event, and all matches will be played on that court. Also, we understand that video replay rather than line judges will be used for all appeals. It will be interesting to see how well that works.

The World Games match format will be the same as for the 2022 Pan American Championships: best of 5 games with the first four games to 15 points, win by 1, and the fifth game, if necessary, will be played to 11 points, win by 2. Rally scoring - every rally results in a point for a player - will used.

2022 World Games Qualifiers - Men’s Singles
Seedings unofficial

1. Alejandro Landa (USA)
2. Andres Acuña (Costa Rica)
3. Mario Mercado (Colombia)
4. Conrrado Moscoso (Bolivia)
5. Jake Bredenbeck (USA)
6. Andree Parrilla (Mexico)
7. Jose Daniel Ugalde (Ecuador)
8. Juan Jose Salvatierra (Guatemala)
9. Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico)
10. Diego Garcia (Argentina)
11. Felipe Camacho (Costa Rica)
12. Ramon De Leon (Dominican Republic)
13. Juan Francisco Cueva (Ecuador)
14. Ken Cottrell (Ireland)
15. Lee Gunhee (South Korea)
16. Eoin Tynan (Ireland)

2022 World Games Qualifiers - Women’s Singles
Seedings unofficial

1. Paola Longoria (Mexico)
2. Kelani Lawrence (USA)
3. Rhonda Rajsich (USA)
4. Natalia Mendez (Argentina)
5. Angelica Barrios (Bolivia)
6. Gabriela Martinez (Guatemala)
7. Samantha Salas (Mexico)
8. Maria Renee Rodriguez (Guatemala)
9. Carla Muñoz (Chile)
10. Cristina Amaya (Colombia)
11. Michèle Morissette (Canada)
12. Micaela Meneses (Bolivia)
13. Sumin Lee (South Korea)
14. Aisling Hickey (Ireland)
15. Majella Haverty (Ireland)
16. Ayako Hanashi (Japan)

 Follow the bouncing ball….

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