Can’t dodge the fun
> Three local dodgeball enthusiasts have organised a brand new tournament to showcase this high-energy sport to more Malaysians
WHEN it comes to Malaysians’ favourite pastimes, futsal, football and badminton easily top the list. However, over the past few years, several unconventional sports have found their way into local hearts and playing fields.
One of these – dodgeball – has seen its popularity grow rapidly over the years, and was recently given a boost when the Malaysian women’s national team managed to become world champions.
Now, the upcoming Zeal Cup Dodgeball Championship in Summit USJ, Subang Jaya offers people an opportunity to witness this sport firsthand. The tournament is organised by Zeal Garment Venture and sanctioned by the Malaysia Association of Dodgeball (MAD).
theSun spoke to the trio in charge of making this tournament a success – Jonas Lim, Simon Quah and Piong Shun Zhe.
“Over the last few years, the popularity of dodgeball in Malaysia has grown quite rapidly,” said Lim. “It is played in colleges and universities, and there are also quite a few community teams.
“On top of that, our national team players are also very formidable and talented, as they recently took home gold and silver for the women’s and men’s categories respectively at the World’s Dodgeball Championship in Melbourne in October.”
Piong added: “Much like any other competitive sport, dodgeball requires players to be physically and mentally fit, which means there’s a lot of training involved.
“While it isn’t a full on contact sport such as rugby, football or basketball, the idea of lobbing a ball at opposing players can be a form of stress release for some.
“The game might scare new players away, as it may look quite painful as you’re constantly being pelted at with balls but that’s not the case as the balls are made of foam. So, it doesn’t hurt at all.”
For the Zeal Cup Championship, the competition is based on standard dodgeball rules. Each match is 10 minutes long, and pits two teams of six against each other.
To score a point, each team has to eliminate all six of the opposing team’s players, with a new match beginning once all six players of a team have been eliminated.
The tournament is open to local dodgeball clubs, and each club will participate in three categories, all-male, all-female and mixed or coed.
The tournament also takes a page out of the Thomas Cup’s rulebook by focusing on the performance of the entire club instead of just individual teams.
Clubs have to win at least two out of the three categories to move on to the next round.
Quah explained: “The reason why we chose to use the Thomas Cup as a template is because we realised there is a lack of opportunity for female teams, as most competitions only have all male or coed categories.
“The lack of opportunity leaves many female players feeling demotivated. With this tournament, we want to remind clubs about this issue and encourage them to be a more comprehensive club and also focus on their female players.”
For existing fans and those who want to get into the sport of dodgeball, the upcoming Zeal Cup will definitely be a good place to start.
Eight participating clubs will use their strengths and strategies to outwit and outperform their opponents, all for a shot at exciting rewards which include up to RM3,000 in cash, medals, and prizes, as well as the chance of being declared one of the top dodgeball clubs in Malaysia.
Lim said: “We hope this tournament will be a very successful one, and if the fans and clubs love how it plays out, we definitely look forward to organising an annual tournament.
“If possible, we even hope to make this an international affair.”
Passion for the sport ... (from left) Piong, Quah and Lim. (top) Local dodgeball players showing off their skills on the court.