This month Cardiff plays host to one of the world’s strangest and fastest growing new sports, as the David Lloyd Leisure Centre prepares to host the Racketlon Welsh Open. Promoted as the racket-based equivalent of a decathlon or ironman triathlon, the competition combines contests in table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis, declaring victory to whichever dynamic player has amassed the greatest number of points across all four disciplines.
A Racketlon match consists of a race to twenty-one points in every set; although a set must be won by at least two points or play may continue until a two point lead is established. Every point can still prove potentially vital, however, since once a set has been played in every discipline it is the total amount of points- not sets- that determines the winner of the match.
This oddball, patchwork super-sport sprang up in Sweden and Finland in the early 90s but British involvement has its own long established history, with the first official tournament outside of Scandinavia having been played in Dundee in 2002. Racketlon in Wales goes back to the first Welsh Open in 2009, and the Cardiff-based competition has grown to become an increasingly significant feature on the calendar of this newly internationalised sport. With a prize pot now equivalent to many of the Racketlon World Tour events, organisers of this year’s Open are expecting competitors from as far away as India and Israel.
Anyone can enter the Welsh Open and the competition boasts sixteen distinct categories divided by genders, ages and levels of ability. So if you fancy yourself as a racket sport renaissance man or woman then you need to make sure that you’re registered for the event by Wednesday 11th February. The David Lloyd Centre is also welcoming spectators who can witness this exciting event for nothing. If you want to try the unique challenge of sorting the badminton aficionados from the squash pros when everyone’s playing table tennis, then you can simply turn up on the day and make yourself known to the organisers.
You can find more information about the event by clicking here.