The Tchoukball Philippine Team
Tchoukball is taking the world by storm
REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2018 - 12:00am

There’s a sport that is slowly taking the world by storm — Tchoukball! 

Countries like the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, China, Brazil, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines are all actively participating and promoting the sport.

Tchoukball was invented by Swiss biologist Dr. Hermann Brandt in the ‘70s, who was very concerned about the number of injuries in sports at that time. So he looked at creating a sport, which was not aggressive between players. His vision was also to have people of all shapes and sizes play together. 

Simply put, it is played on an indoor court measuring 27 meters by 16 meters, with 12 players -- seven being on the court at the same time. You score a point by hitting the frame situated at both ends of the court.

Currently, one of our best players is John Elray Jamelo, 27, who has been an integral part of numerous successful campaigns like the Southeast Asian Championships, Asia Pacific Championships, World Beach Championships, and the World Championships. 

He sat down with Philippine STAR for a chat about this rapidly growing sport.

Philippine STAR: How did you start out in this sport? 

John Elray Jamelo: In 2010, Singaporean national coach Jeff Ang visited the Philippines so he could promote the sport and I am blessed to be one of the pioneers here. It took me a while to really absorb and love the sport because I was playing basketball then. From then on, we sent a team abroad every year to compete in international tournaments. So, from time to time, I’d go to Taiwan, who are number one in the world, and train with their coach so we could help improve Tchoukball Pilipinas. This is far different from other sports in my opinion because of the values it promotes. The goal of this sport is not to make champions but build a harmonious society. Also, it promotes fair play, respect and honesty. It is sad to see other athletes trash talk, taunt, purposely hurt others or do anything to ruin the game of their opponents. It is my personal burden to teach young kids and athletes the real essence of the sport.

What’s a typical day for you, training-wise? 

Since our association is a non-profit organization, I need to have a job outside of Tchoukball. After work, I usually go to the gym or run for my personal workout. For our team training, we do it three or four times a week.

How’s the experience when you represent the country?

Playing for my country is a great blessing for me and my peers. It is, indeed, an honor for me to stand there and see our flag raised and to hear our national anthem played and sang. We get to showcase who Filipinos really are: flexible and resilient. In our own way, we aspire to be a beacon of hope to young kids and other people who really want to make a difference in this world.

Is it a bit frustrating that your sport doesn’t get the support and coverage it deserves?

Every single year, since 2010, we have been sending a team to compete abroad. To be honest, I felt like we had greater chances to win a higher rank if we brought a stronger team, but financial difficulties was a hindrance. Support from our government would be great in forming a more competitive team. So while waiting for that to happen, we get to pool from our own pockets every time we have competitions. We do this for love of the country and our passion for the sport.

Would you encourage young kids to choose Tchoukball? 

Tchoukball is a sport for all. We are taught here the values of respect, fair-play, and many more. It is a very fast and fun game that is very fitting to Asians because it doesn’t require height and size but rather speed and agility. I myself was changed and molded by the sport, that’s why I am really confident to recommend this to the youth.

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