The 2018 Asia-Pacific Fistball Championships will be only the second time this tournament has been held, and the first time it has been held in Australia.
The inaugural Asia-Pacific Fistball Championships (then known as the Asian Fistball Championships) were held on April 10th – 11th, 2014, with the Pakistan Fistball Federation (PFF) hosting the tournament in Lahore, Pakistan. At that event, 4 men’s national teams from Pakistan, India, Nepal and Australia took part, with Pakistan emerging victorious in five thrilling sets over India in the final. In an earlier third place playoff, Nepal defeated Australia in four sets to claim bronze.
It marked the first-ever foray into international fistball for the Fistball Federation of Australia (FiFA), just over one year into its existence. While Australia finished in 4th place and without a win, it provided a pivotal stepping stone for helping the association to set goals for the national teams moving forward, while also giving the Aussies an insight into the fistballing quality of their Asian neighbours. In addition, Australia’s participation in the tournament was noted as the first organised Australian sports team to tour Pakistan since the Australian cricket team completed a tour there in 1999, proving that fistballers are the true trail blazers in Australian sport.
The relationships built at that tournament, and combined with the recent development of New Zealand fistball, will hopefully ensure the 2018 tournament is a significant success for both FiFA and Asia-Pacific fistball in general, with the expectation that these intra-continental tournaments will become a more regular feature in future years and form part of the official IFA qualification process for future World Championships.