Exploring Racquetball Continental Championships
Asian Racquetball Championships
The Asian Championships are organized by the ASIA Racquetball Federation (ARF). The tournament was established in the early 1980's by the Japanese Racquetball Association (JARA) and drew most of the participating players from Japan. Though the first nine Asian Championships were held in Japan, Korea began hosting the tournament the following year the contests were held. Soon after, the ARF began organizing racquetball events in cooperation with the IRF. Currently, the roster of members includes places such as Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and Bahrain.
European Racquetball Championships
Though the European Racquetball Federation (ERF) wasn't established until 1985, racquetball organizations in Europe had begun holding European Championships in 1981, the same year that the IRF began organizing the Racquetball World Championships. Similar to the Asian Championships, the European tournament was reserved for players in member countries such as Belgium, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Turkey and The Netherlands. The European Championships are held every 2 years and include games between men's and women's singles, doubles and seniors.
Pan American Racquetball Championships
The Pan American Racquetball Championships have been held since 1985. Originally called the Tournament of the Americas, the name was changed in 2002 to eliminate any confusion about the tournament. The contest is organized by the Pan American Racquetball Confederation (PARC) and held each year. Players from countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru participate in the tournament. Like the European Championships, the Pan Am games include men's and women's singles and doubles. The Pan Am Championships also recognize winners for both genders in various age groups. For example, men and women age 35 and above are eligible for titles. Girls age 14 and under and boys age 16 and under also compete.
Though racquetball began as the creation of only one man (Joseph Sobek), the sport quickly attracted fans from countries across the globe. As its popularity grew, it was inevitable that a global tournament would be organized that would allow players to test their skills against opponents from around the world. Though the International Racquetball Federation is the organization with the furthest reach, other racquetball groups have emerged. In affiliation with the IRF, these regional groups have held continental championships for players in their own lands for many years. These regional tournaments not only help recognize superior players in those countries but ensure that the sport of racquetball continues to attract fans from every nation.