Discovering The Racquetball World Championships

Racquetball grew from near obscurity in the late 1940's to an explosion of popularity today. In 1979, the International Amateur Racquetball Federation was officially founded, bringing a new level of credibility to the sport. The IRF (the word "amateur" was removed from the organization's title several years later) quickly organized the first Racquetball World Championships in 1981. Today, the tournament brings racquetball players together from over 40 countries in 6 continents. These players represent their respective countries and compete in order that their country might ultimately be named Racquetball World Champion.

Hosting Of The Racquetball World Championships

Similar to the Olympic Games, the tournament has been hosted in various member countries in the years since its inception. Though the first few tournaments were held in the U.S., the bi-annual Racquetball World Championships rotates through member nations. Since 1981, the contest has been held in countries such as Germany, Venezuela, Bolivia, Puerto Rico and South Korea. For the 2008 tournament, Ireland will serve as host.

Games At The Racquetball World Championships

The racquetball games played at the tournament include men's singles, doubles and team competitions as well as women's singles, doubles and teams. In the past, men's and women's singles and doubles games have been played first. The next few days are usually reserved for team games. The preliminary team events begin, followed by several rounds of finals. Finally, the Championship Team Finals are played and the winner is determined.

Team Rankings Through The Years

Since 1981, the U.S. and Canada's men's teams have sparred for the title of World Champion. In the years since its start, only men's teams from these two countries have ever secured the title. The women's team rankings through the years is more one-sided. Since 1981, the U.S. women's team has been named Racquetball World Champions every year the tournament has been held. Canada has won 2nd place each of those years.

Rules And Policy Changes With The Times

Like many organized sporting events, the Racquetball World Championships attracts a level of competitiveness that is contrary to the spirit of sports. In order to participate in the tournament, member countries must agree to a series of Anti-Doping rules. These rules disallow the athletes' use of prohibited substances during the tournament. While the need for these policies is unfortunate, the drafting of an official agreement by the IRF shows that the organization is willing to adapt to a changing sporting environment.

Final Thoughts

The Racquetball World Championships identifies the strongest and most-capable racquetball players (both individuals and teams) in the world. As the popularity of the sport continues to expand, it's inevitable that more countries will get involved in the tournament. While an overall winner is named each year in which the Championships are played, member nations also covet 2nd and 3rd place titles. Though the U.S. and Canada have dominated most of the top ranking in the years since 1981, it's likely that both countries will ultimately be unseated by a stronger team in the future.