World Gateball Championships

2014 Profile 

Introducing Smiling Faces of the Winning Teams!

World Champion  【SHANXI LINFEN CHINA】 (People’s Republic of China)
First Victory! Defeating JOSHOKIRYU in a one-sided game!

This is a team selected from the Linfen city, Shanxi province, located in northern China, and consists of players in their 20s – 50s. Since the team was formed 10 years ago, it has made it to the best 8 in the last championship held in Shanghai, China in 2010, was the first runner-up in the 6th Asia Championship (Macau) in 2012, and even on the domestic front, won the All China Championship in 2013.

In the finals, JOSHOKIRYU, who were stroking first, moved Red 1 to the right side of the second gate, and Red 3 came near the midpoint of the third line and entered the receiving sphere, but SHANXI LINFEN CHINA, stroking second, was able to pass White 2 to 8 through the first gate. After Red 7 and Red 9 failed to pass through the first gate, White 10 passed through the first gate and advanced behind the gate.  In the second round, Red 1 passed through the second gate, touched Red 3 and sent it to the edge of the line. Red 3 entered the slide-touch receiving sphere, headed in the direction of the second gate.  White 2 passed through the first gate, touched White 10, then after changing the position of White10, White 2 passed through the second gate, touched Red 1 and Red 3, and was declared as an out-ball. Thereafter,「 SHANXI LINFEN CHINA」 formed a trio of White 2, White 4, and White 10, adopted the strategy of placing the ball for Red 1 and Red 3, and easily won with 12-8 in a one-sided game.
“There is no special reason for our victory. We gave a lot of importance to communication between the members during the game and kept advancing step by step. If I might daresay, we practiced as much as we could on top of our normal day jobs, and this is a result of regular practice.”


Accurate strike using the croquet style with both feet together Player YANG Jin Ming, 50.

2nd Place  【JOSHOKIRYU】 (Japan)
Without giving any impression of being under pressure, they played a relaxed game becoming the first-time finalist in an international championship


Team comprising mainly of the Iwasaki family (father and sons). They gained experience by participating in games from the 18th All Japan Gateball Games for Communication of All Ages held in 2001, where they used the team name “Sukoyaka”, and obtained the ticket to participate in this championship by winning the second place in the 27th All Japan Gateball Championship held in 2011.  The highlight of this championship was their semifinal match with SHANGHAI GAODONG CHINA (People’s Republic of China). After the closing bell rang, player Takumi Iwasaki, 22, ignoring the pressure, passed his White 6 through the third gate, sparking from a long touch, and evened the score at 12-12. He then went on to add 3 points demonstrating super play through slide touch and collected a game-changing 12-15.


“At one point we were even apprehensive that we would not be able to participate, as there were several issues such as having members who were job hunting, work-related matters, and participating members not being decided until just before the championship, but we were somehow able to participate. Due to such circumstances of the team, we had little time to practice as a team before the championship, and competed with an easy-going attitude that we would be happy if we managed to enter the best 8. I think that is what brought us to win the 2nd place.”

Player Takumi Iwasaki (22 years) belted out numerous good shots

3rd place 【TPE Hsinchu County】 (Chinese Taipei)
Veteran captain leads a team of debutants!

 Captain Li Pen-Feng, 62, is a veteran player who has had a stellar career. He was a member of TPE Hsinchu County A that was the second runner-up at the 1st Asian Championship held in Japan in 1992, he was also a part of the Chinese Taipei team that was the first runner-up in the “Akita World Games 2011” in 2001, and made it to the best 8 in the 6th Asian Championship held in 2012. With such a seasoned player playing the central role, this team was formed two years ago with members from the Zhudong Zhen, Hsinchu region of the TPE Hsinchu County, and is made up of debutants except for Captain Li. For this championship, the team practiced every morning from 7:30 to 11:00, focusing on fundamental skills.

“Although we could win in the second round of the final tournament at the Friend Sports Club in the Asian Championship V3, the level at Friend Sports Club was clearly higher as compared to ours, so coming in third place was nothing but luck. I think for the debutant members, this championship was a very good experience. In the future, we would like to promote the game among youngsters, and compete in international championships.”

Captain Li Pen-Feng, 66, who led the debutant players

3rd place 【SHANGHAI GAODONG CHINA】 (People’s Republic of China)
Natural grass court is the future challenge!

 This team was selected from Gaodong, Pudong New District, Shanghai, where the last championship was held. It is a men’s team with members in their 30s – 60s, that was formed for participating in the last championship held four years ago. They made it to the best 16 in the last championship and on the domestic front, they won the All China Championship in 2011. The members play in various regions in Gaodong, but they took intensive training for 10 days before the championship.


“First of all, we wish to express our gratitude for being able to play the game in a wonderful environment, including a splendid stadium, beautifully maintained and managed natural grass courts, and friendly cheering from all the spectators. We felt that the Japanese team was young, and played a wonderful game with amazing techniques for playing on the natural grass courts. Our initial target was to make it to the best 8, so we are happy with this result. In the future, we want to develop the techniques for playing on natural grass courts, and continue to devote ourselves to the game so that we can win this championship four years later.”

Sparking using a low striking form that is unique to Chinese player sending the ball

Introducing the Teams that Drew Attention

【TPE Fangyuan Junior High School】 (Chinese Taipei)
The only junior team that advanced to the Championship Round!


 This was the only junior team in this championship, and comprised of students, alumni, and their teacher (who is the coach) of the junior high school in Changhua County, which was the venue of the 5th Asia Championship held in 2008. They demonstrated team work in that they have been playing together continuously for 5 to 6 years, and advanced to the Championship Tournament. 

In the first-round, they were up against China Macao 1 (Macao China), who made it to the best 8, and showed relentless pursuit until the end, but lost by a narrow margin of 1 point, which was mortifying.

“We have won the All Chinese Taipei Junior Championship, and wish to express our deep gratitude for the chance to participate in this championship.”

Apart from stroking form, players also used the Chinese-style stride-and-strike form

【GARUDA SULUT】 (Indonesia)
Youngest player registered in this championship is 11 years old!


 “Sulut” is an abbreviation of the North Sulawesi province located on the Sulawesi Island in central Indonesia, and is a region where gateball is recently becoming rapidly popular. 

The team was formed for this championship with players from islands such as Sumatra, Java and etc. all over from the North Sulawesi province.
The players lives on different islands, so they kept in touch through Facebook and online chattings. 
Once they gather at one place, they practiced very hard together. The average gateball experience of the members is 3 years, but they put up a good fight in the preliminary league matches with 2 victories and 1 defeat.

“We had a good experience competing with the runners up, JOSHOKIRYU. We would like to take the experience from this championship home and carry out more research for the future.”

The player at the center in the back row is the youngest 11 year old player, Bagus Triadi SAPUTRA. At just 11 years, he has a lot of experience of participating in overseas open tournaments, including the 6th Asia Championship (Macao) in 2012.

Team includes young members, from 11 to 33 years old.

【Los Angeles】 (U.S.A)
Oldest player in this championship is 90 years old!

 This is a team of Japanese Americans from Los Angeles with the oldest player in the championship, 90 year old Machiyo KIYAMA. 
She started playing gateball at the age of 65. Since then she has participated with her now deceased husband in various championships, including the onces overseas such as Japan and Brazil.  
She currently lives in a retirement home, and has trained hard on her practice swinging and hitting other balls for two hours every day, on the gateball court the retirement home owns.

“Young players also gathers at the court at the retirement home, and I enjoy playing with them. Thanks to gateball, I am very healthy and happy playing with everyone.” (KIYAMA)

Player Shigeru TAIRA (second from the left, 62,) from the team "Deigo B" that won the third place in the 7th World Championship (Hawaii) in 1998, is registered as well. Player KIYAMA presenting an energetic play. Hard to believe she is 90!

Player KIYAMA presenting an energetic play. Hard to believe she is 90!

【Thailand】 (Thailand)
Participating in this championship after 10 years and putting up a good fight with 2 victories and 1 defeat in the preliminary league matches!

 Since the 6th World Championship (held in Kagoshima, Japan) in 1994, this is the second time Thailand participating in this championship. They sure was making an appearance after an interval of 10 years and five championships. 
The team mainly comprised of men in their 20s, and put up a good fight with 2 victories and 1 defeat in the preliminary league matches.


“We wish to express deep gratitude for holding a big opening ceremony and welcome party to the organizer, and to all the people watching us from the sunbaked stands during the championship. Above all, we are happy to have developed friendship with players from various countries and regions through this championship.”

Honing their skills by participating in overseas open championships since 2012, and demonstrating great results

All the members played with the croquet style

【China Macao 1】 (Macao – China)
Remarkable achievement of making it to the best 8 in their first championship as the Macao team!


 The strongest team representing Macao – China achieved the feat of making it to the best 8, which was a first for Macao China. The team was formed 5 years ago. Apart from practicing for 1 to 2 hours in the mornings three to four times a week, they participated in championships in China to learn techniques and strategies.
“Gateball’s appeal is constantly changing, and it is no longer the same game. Therefore, during practice, we try to fight by adapting to the situation. We could compete with strong teams in this championship, and have learned a lot.”

Men's team mainly in their 50s to 60s

Chinese influence is clearly visible, such as straight sparking that is often seen among Chinese players

Introducing the debuting national and regional teams!

Team Europe (Europe)
Surprised at the large scale and high level of this year’s championship!

Team comprising of players from the European countries of Belgium, France, UK, and Luxembourg.  With captain Bernard THYS (third from right, 59 years), who is also an international Croquet champion, playing the central role, the team was formed for this championship with the members of the multi sports organization “EUROPEAN EN SPORT”, which was created in 2006 to promote sports in European sports clubs and schools.

“We were surprised by the large scale of this championship, and the high level of the players from various countries and regions. When we return home, we would like to promote gateball in the European countries actively.”

Players used both golf style and croquet style striking accordingly to the game's situation

Swiss National Gateball Team (Switzerland)
Popular in their uniforms with the Swiss national flag used as the motif!

 With Captain David UNDERHILL, 69, who is also a croquet player, played the central role. This team is comprised of three married couples. The team was very popular at the venue with their friendly, smiling faces and a uniform with the Swiss national flag as the motif.

Captain David UNDERHILL (second from right) gestures with his fingers "Got 6 points, which is more than the minimum 5 points per game goal he set for himself"! Shoes and socks are in red and white too!

Captain David UNDERHILL striking in croquet style

Indian Gateball Union A/ B (India)
Demonstrating a perfect game!

 Two teams “Indian Gateball Union A/ B” debuted from “INDIAN GATEBALL UNION (IGU)”. The teams comprised of 15 members in the age group of 19 to 61 years old and both the teams had male players.
 They demonstrated the capability they have accumulated by touring international open gateball tournaments in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand since 2009, and presented a perfect game in the preliminary league matches. 

Members of the Indian Gateball Union A (back row) and B (front row)

Most players used croquet style when striking with both legs wide apart

Other galleries