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Korfball, anyone?

IF I were to ask you to pick the only ball game which promotes gender equality while keeping the excitement alive, would you step forward and choose:

1. Basketball

2. Football

3. Volleyball

Would it be basketball, the country’s No. 1 pastime since the days of the “Big Difference”, Caloy Loyzaga, and the “Fox”, Lauro Mumar?

Would it be football, the world’s most popular sport played by more 250 million players in over 200 countries and commands the highest television audience in all sports?

Would it be volleyball, an equally-popular and widely-played game described as “less rough than basketball but still requiring a bit of athletic effort?

Well, the answer is none of the above.

If you ask University of Santo Tomas Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (UST-IPEA) athletics moderator Prof. Rodrigo Sambuang, the answer is korfball.

Why korfball?

We asked Prof. Sambuang about korfball during his appearance in the weekly “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Jan. 28.

Sambuang, now the president of the Philippine Korfball Federation (PKF), provided the answers.

Let’s listen to him.

Tell us more about the sport of korfball?

Korfball is another kind of ball sport with similarities to basketball and netball. It is a mixed gender sport played by two teams of eight players with four female players and four male players in each team. The players are required to throw a ball into a netless basket that is mounted on a 3.5 m (11.5 feet) high pole.

Who invented korfball and where it was first played?

Korfball was invented by Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch school teacher from Amsterdam, in Netherlands in 1902. Based on reports, there are approximately 500 clubs and more than 90,000 people playing korfball in Netherlands alone. The sport is also now being played in nearly 70 countries, including Europe and Asia.

Is it an Olympic sport?

Korfball was also a demonstration sport in the Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium in 1920 and Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1928.

How did it become a mixed gender sport?

Kung sa ibang laro magka-hiwalay ang mga male at female players, dito sa korfball, magkasama. As I’ve said, it is played by two teams of eight players with four female players and four male players in each team.

What are the top korfball-playing countries in the world?

The Nertherland, where the game was invented, is the No. 1 country. Netherlands captured 11 of the 12 championships organized by the IKF World Korfball Championship since 1978.The Dutch also emerged as the champions in all nine championships organized by another world body, International World Games Association, since 1981. In Asia-Oceania, Chinese-Taipei is the top country by winning nine of 10 championships organized by the Asia-Oceania Korfball Federation (AOKF) every two years since 1990.

How did korfball start in the Philippines?

Korfball was introduced in UST as early as 2007. Now students and even faculty members in UST play the game.

What are the PKF’s plans to promote the sport among the Filipinos?

The PKF is knocking on the door of both the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) and PSC Philippine Sports Commission). We want to be recognized as a national sports association. Next step is including korfball even as a demonstration sport in the UAAP. Aside from UST, we need atleast three more member-schools to learn and play korfball. We are also reaching out to other school leagues In fact, we have already conducted clinics at the PUP.

What about in the SEA Games?

Korfball is not yet included in the SEA Games calendar, but there are already efforts to add it even as a demonstration. I heard Thailand, which will host the SEA Games in 2027, is including korfball. Right now, the Philippines is ranked No. 45 in the world behind Southeast Asian neighbors Thailand (No. 35), Indonesia (No. 36) and Malaysia (No. 44).

NOTES — January 31 marked the 25th death anniversary of my Dad, Albert Andaya Sr., who passed away in 1996. A long-time assistant film director-scriptwriter of Emperor Films and other independent movie productions and member of MOWELFUND, Bert was also a loving husband, father and grandfather…
Happy birthday to two of my inaanaks, JB Susano, who turned another year older last Jan. 27; and John Francis A. Ypil, who celebrated last Feb. 1.

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