DODGEBALL fans turned up to cheer teams competing at the Malaysia World Dodgeball Invitation 2012 at the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.

The tournament saw teams from Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United States, Singapore and Malaysia compete in a series of matches to bag the golden trophy, pride and bragging rights.

“There is no cash prize. These players are here to have fun and to play dodgeball, as well as to proclaim the best country in dodgeball,” said Yeo Wai Tat, 33, secretary of the Malaysian Association Of Dodgeball (MAD). According to him, this was the biggest Asian tournament for dodgeball in terms of participation, adding that they hoped to make this an annual event.

“Dodgeball is a sport that everyone can play. It’s easy, and can be played by men and women at the same time. It’s equal among the sexes,” said Emmanuel Tan, 32, captain of Singapore’s male team.

The aim of the event was to introduce Malaysian dodgeball to other countries. It also provided a platform for the world’s dodgeball leaders to work together to standardise the rules and regulations of the game, especially on the type of ball used.

The small crowd who turned up to watch the tournament were lively and spirited, cheering for their favourite teams.

“Hong Kong is a crowd favourite to win,” said Yeo. “They have their own dodgeball league which consists of 40 teams. They have played dodgeball the longest in Asia.”

Hong Kong’s All-Stars team, which consisted of the best players chosen from their dodgeball league, emerged as the champions in the male category. In the women’s category, AzRampage from the US were the champions.

Both teams did not expect to win.

Brian Li, captain of Hong Kong’s All-Stars team, said that they had to face the best players from the US (AzRampage – World Dodgeball Champion 2010), Singapore and Canada.

“I played dodgeball as a kid, but it’s different when you’re an adult. It’s more competitive and aggressive,” he said. “You win and lose as a team.”

Captain of AzRampage, Nicole Chasin, 27, said it was her first women’s dodgeball team.

According to her, she had only met four of her teammates the night before. “The only reason we came was to meet the players from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, and just to play dodgeball.”

Another competition for the fastest ball thrown was also being held by Dan Vladescu, head of Dodgeball Nation, an organisation in Canada that aims to introduce dodgeball to the world.

Christopher Bell, 21, from the US earned himself a brand new camera when he threw the fastest ball at about 120km an hour, measured by a speed gun.

During his speech at the closing ceremony, MAD president Datuk Samson David Maman said: “It’s not just about the competitive spirit. It’s about the fun and making new acquantainces.

“Dodgeball is a great way to meet various people. This event also hopes introduce Malaysia as a hub for dodgeball in Asia.” Maman added that he hopes the players will return to Malaysia for more games in the future.

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