AROUND THE WORLD
Pickleball continues to grow ! The International Federation of Pickleball ( IFP ) is encouraging its member organizations to begin thinking of a World Cup of pickleball . France , India , Spain , Japan , the UK and the USA all have strong programs under the governing body of the IFP . This column will report on their activities and opportunities for play .
Sunil Valavalkar reports from India that pickleball has been growing there for the past eight years . It is being played in eight states with the main centers in Mumbai and Kolkata . Jaipur , Ranchi , Panipat , and Patna also have active groups . Check out the Facebook page at Pickleball India . Tourists are welcome to join them on their courts . Both men and women play , although it is mainly men at this time . Play is primarily outdoors on taped tennis and basketball courts .
Daniel Moore reports from Japan that there are now about 50 people playing regularly in the Tokyo area . He has also played in Nagano Prefecture and Takayama ( Denver ’ s Sister City ). In October he will play in Shizuoka Prefecture . Pickleball will be an indoor sport in Japan because there are so many badminton courts . I personally think there is great potential in Japan because the centers are already in place and badminton exchanges with
the USA already exist . The really big news in Japan is that the 2019 World Games will be held there . I tried to get pickleball in the 2017 World Games in New Zealand but the organizing committee felt it was too late . The IFP will work hard to spread pickleball in Japan in hopes of having the sport in the 2019 Games . The World Games are by age so the U . S . could send multiple teams — it is a wonderful event !
Steve Hughes , Vice President of the United Kingdom Pickleball Association , reported that on May 1 , 2016 , there was a pickleball event at the White Horse Tennis and Leisure Center in Abingdon , Oxfordshire , a one-day event with more than 80 players from all over the UK .
The Canadian Nationals are coming up July 8-10 in Kelowna , B . C . This tournament is open to U . S . nationals . This year it is a skill tournament . Hopefully , the tournament will add senior age divisions in the future . It was a great tournament when it was in age divisions and held in Abbottsford — the best Rainier cherries ever . I would like to put a challenge out there to the Canadians in the form of a CanAm Challenge Cup . There are so many good Canadian players and so many lovely places to play in both countries ; couldn ’ t we have a team challenge ?
Don ’ t forget that the USAPA Nationals VIII will be November 5-13 at Palm Creek in Casa Grande , AZ . It is open to international players and will be a wonderful time to gather and exchange ideas .
The IFP encourages everyone to help expand the pickleball community by welcoming international visitors and visiting international pickleball hotspots . •
Alice Luthy Tym was ranked 13th in the world in women ’ s tennis and was a Master Professional for the USOTA and a USTA Clinician . She is now Chair of International Promotions for the IFP and a pickleball tournament player . She recently retired after 40 years of teaching geography and geology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga . She lives and works on a horse farm in McDonald , TN , and welcomes all players to the beautiful courts in Collegedale , TN , where she is a Parks and Rec board member .