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Where EAST meets the Northwest
LITTLE-KNOWN SPORT. Aija Apsipe, left, of Latvia follows the ball during a
Roll Ball World Cup quarterfinal match against India at Shaheed Sohrawardi
Indoor Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh. If basketball and soccer had a baby and put
it on skates, it might look like roll ball, a little-known sport whose top
performers worldwide recently vied for the championship in Bangladesh. Top
honors, both for men and women, went to India, where the sport was invented. (AP
ROLL BALL! Chandran Sharma of India skates to the ball during a Roll Ball
World Cup quarterfinal match against Zambia at Shaheed Sohrawardi Indoor Stadium
in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh hosted the championship for the unusual sport,
called roll ball, where players on roller skates dribble and pass a
basketball-sized ball that they try to throw into a small soccer-type goal.
About 750 players from 40 countries participated. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
From The Asian Reporter, V27, #5 (March 6, 2017), pages 1 & 7.
Bangladesh rolls out welcome for unusual sport on skates
By Julhas Alam
The Associated Press
DHAKA, Bangladesh — If basketball and soccer had a baby and put it on skates,
it might look like roll ball, a little-known sport whose top performers
worldwide recently vied for the championship in Bangladesh.
Played on a basketball court, with a small soccer-type goal in lieu of a
basket, roll ball requires players on roller skates to dribble and pass a
basketball-sized ball as they try to score.
Some 750 competitors from 40 countries, including host Bangladesh,
participated in the meet at three venues in Dhaka, the capital. Most were from
Asia or Africa, but Europe, South America, and the South Pacific island nation
of Fiji were also represented. All participating nations sent men’s teams and 27
Uganda had initially been expected to host the fourth Roll Ball World Cup,
but Bangladesh stepped in after the African nation declined it, said Ahmed
Asiful Hasan, general secretary of the Bangladesh Roller Skating Federation.
"This is a little known game in the country. Hosting such a big tournament
gives us an opportunity to make it known," he said. "The amount of support we
got from the government’s top level and the public is amazing."
Roll ball originated in neighboring India, as the results might suggest. In
the finals, both the Indian men and women won their respective championships, in
each case defeating teams from Iran.
Bangladesh’s men reached the semifinals, and team captain Mohammad Asif Iqbal
said his country’s hosting of the tournament will help the sport grow.
"Roll ball is now a known game in Bangladesh and it has good prospect in the
future," he said.
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