By CHRISTINE CHEAH
Dodgeball may have only made its presence known in Malaysia over five years ago but the sport has already grown strong enough to produce players good enough to compete internationally.
Recently, the national dodgeball men’s and women’s teams did the country proud at the World Dodgeball Invitationals held in Queenstown, New Zealand. They competed against five other countries – Canada, US, Hong Kong PRC, New Zealand and Australia.
As relative newcomers in the scene, the Malaysian players didn’t fare too badly – the men’s team placed third and the women placed fourth in their respective categories.
Malaysian Association of Dodgeball (MAD) secretary Yeo Wai Tat said players from the other countries spoke of their amazement at the
Malaysians’ improvement in the game, considering they are still new kids on the block.
“When I look at the other international teams play, they seem to be more aggressive in attacking and in their dodging techniques as well,” Yeo said.
He believes the Malaysian teams have a bit of catching up to do but for a sport that was barely recognised a few years ago, the players have come quite far.
“I believe that this is a fun sport and anyone can pick it up. It is great to see dodgeball going strong but I hope that more there will be more platforms for players to showcase their talents. Hopefully, it will get more people participating,” he said.
Currently, there are several dodgeball competition held annually in Malaysia – from college invitationals to the National Dodgeball Championships. At the national championships, teams from various states battle to be crowned the national champion and consequently represent the country at the annual World Dodgeball Invitationals.
This year, the guys from the UCSI Devil Dukes and the girls from the Taylor’s University Storm topped their respective categories to represent the country.
Devil Dukes captain Ng Chee Keong said the team didn’t expect to finish third in Queenstown as they had just suffered a heavy defeat to New Zealand in a friendly just prior to the competition.
The trashing proved to be a blessing in disguise as it gave the Devil Dukes an idea of what to expect at the invitationals, where they managed to beat the New Zealand team, who ended up in fourth place.
For Storm, the first-ever national champions in Malaysia, the World Dodgeball Invitationals was their first international competition, and the most prestigious as well.
“We were already nervous enough competing at the national championships!” said Storm captain Chong Hwei Xian, 21, when asked about the atmosphere within the team in Queenstown.
Fortunately, the girls were able to put their nerves aside to put in a series of strong performances.
“I think we did well. We only lost by a point to Hong Kong,” said Chong.