IRF ANNOUNCES CHANGE IN 2021 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS PLANS

August 28, 2021 – In an effort to be able offer both an IRF World Championships (Adult) and an IRF World Junior Championships, as well as to be mindful of and concerned for the pandemic-related health and safety of country delegations as well as the host countries themselves, the IRF today announces changes in plans for both events.

The IRF World Championships (Adult) will now take place at the same time as the IRF World Junior Championships in late November/early December in Guatemala City, Guatemala. This reflects a change in dates but not location since Guatemala City was the originally announced host country.

The IRF World Junior Championships dates reflect only a small change (see below), but the host country is now Guatemala and not Costa Rica as previously planned. We hope to return to Costa Rica in 2022, and we are so grateful for Costa Rica’s dedicated ongoing partnership with the IRF in serving the worldwide racquetball family. Official invitations are being developed for both events and will reach national federations as soon as possible. We strongly suggest that everyone wait to receive these before booking airfare. Even then, we suggest researching refundable flights and/or travel insurance possibilities since we all know the pandemic often compels changes as new information comes available.

The general plan, subject to modifications, is:

  • Adult event arrivals and practice the last weekend of November
  • Juniors arrive the first part of the week of 29 November
  • Adults and Juniors compete simultaneously for several days
  • Adults conclude the first half of the week of 6 December
  • Juniors continue competition through the end of that week, likely traveling home on the originally planned date of 12 December

While we certainly recognize that this schedule will present various challenges for the delegations and for the IRF, we are excited at the prospect of Junior players being able to meet the world’s best racquetball athletes and hopefully observe them compete in a World Championships event (pandemic measures permitting).

To address that point, we are working to develop protocols and approaches to put as many safety measures into place as necessary and indicated to reduce risk. Our first priority is the well-being of everyone involved. We appreciate the collaboration and relationship with the IRT and LPRT as we worked together to find the best way to be able to host these IRF international competitions with as little impact as possible on their event schedules. There is much more information to come! We are grateful for the understanding and flexibility on everyone’s part as we all continue to navigate the pandemic as best we can in our lives and in our sport.

In conclusion, we’d like to mention two very uplifting points:

We are excited for Guatemala as they host their first international event on their long-awaited brand new courts. Congratulations, Guatemala!

The IRF World Championships (Adult) is the sole qualifier for the 16 men’s singles positions and 16 women’s singles positions that will be competed in The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, next summer. Players qualify for themselves, not as country representatives. We wish everyone good luck!

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PARC Announces Suspension of XXXIII Pan American Racquetball Championships

For Immediate Release

20 August 2021

 

Pan American Racquetball Confederation Announces

Suspension of XXXIII Pan American Racquetball Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Pan American Racquetball Confederation (PARC) and the Bolivian Racquetball Federation (FEBORA) announce the suspension of the XXXIII Pan American Racquetball Championships. The event was scheduled for 3-11 September in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

This decision was taken due to the measures against COVID-19 in some countries that would normally participate as well as the current COVID restrictions in the host country.

The rescheduled date for this competition is 9-17 April 2022, and more information will be shared as it becomes available.

PARC President Marcelo Gómez Pacheco commented, “We look forward to the improvement of the world situation, and we wish everyone good health and safety until we can all be together once again.”

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INTERNATIONAL RACQUETBALL FEDERATION SIGNS PARTNERSHIP WITH ONE HAMSA AND VIRTUAL SPORTS ASSOCIATION FOR VR-BASED OLYMPIC SPORT

The IOC-recognized International Racquetball Federation (IRF), based in Colorado Springs, USA, has followed the IOC’s announcement of their Virtual Sports Series with a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in developing Tel Aviv-based One Hamsa’s immersive virtual reality (VR) game Racket:Nx as a potential full Olympic Virtual Sport and an eventual candidate for the Olympic Games.

The IOC’s Virtual Sports Series includes five games which simulate cycling, rowing, baseball, sailing, and auto racing, but only two are physical games [for cycling and rowing] and presently none are immersive virtual reality.

IRF President Osvaldo Maggi said: “When we realized what this combination could mean not only for our federation, but for all of racquet sport, we jumped all over it. This will be a game-changer, for us and for world sport. We look forward to sharing so much more as this exciting partnership unfolds.”

Virtual Sports Association CEO Victor Bond, who brokered the deal, says: “This is a marriage made in future-sport heaven: a world-class developer and a unique, successful, and wonderful game, with a fully global international IOC-recognized sports federation, that has the vision and the grit to not just see around the corner but to go there.”

One Hamsa CEO Assaf “Usul” Ronen, added: “Racket:Nx is fully immersive and fully athletic, allowing players of all racquet sports – not only racquetball – to play full out inside a lighted, player-responsive, sound and music-filled dome, in a game that is blow-your-mind unique and engaging. The moves of all racquet sports are supported, except for those that would not work in the average living room or family room, like a racquetball dive or a clay court tennis slide.”

Ronen continued, “Racket:Nx has over 150,000 players on most VR platforms, including the fastest-growing VR headset, the Oculus Quest 2. That means that this game is more likely to achieve the mass acceptance that the IOC seeks. Racquet sports, it turns out, all together, maybe the largest sports category in the world, eclipsing even world football.”

With virtual reality hitting the mainstream with the Quest 2, and with the IOC ushering in the era of Olympic Virtual Sport, this trailblazing partnership is betting on the roles that immersive virtual sport will play in the mass adoption of VR and in the extension of the Olympic Games.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Victor Bond, Virtual Sports Association, vbond@bondgroup.us.

Notes to editors:

– For more information on the IOC’s Virtual Sports Series:

https://olympics.com/ioc/news/international-olympic-committee-makes-landmark-move-into-virtual-sports-by-announcing-first-ever-olympic-virtual-series

– For more information on Racket:Nx:

www.racketnx.com

– For more information on the International Racquetball Federation:

www.internationalracquetball.com

– For more information on One Hamsa:

www.onehamsa.com

– For more information on the Virtual Sports Association:

www.virtualsportsassociation.com