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What is tchoukball and how popular is this sport where Singapore women’s team is now World No. 1


  • Singapore’s women tchoukball team is now ranked world No. 1, after it beat Chinese Taipei in the Asia Pacific Tchoukball Championships last year

  • TODAY looks at what the indoor team sport is about, how popular it is around the world and here, and what is in store for Singapore tchoukball going forward

  • Tchoukball can be traced to a Swiss biologist who wanted to "construct the perfect team game" while reducing injury

BY NUR HIKMAH MD ALI Published January 31, 2023 Updated February 16, 2023

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s women tchoukball team recently made history by becoming world No. 1, based on the latest ranking by the International Tchoukball Federation (FITB). The Jan 1 ranking saw Singapore overtake powerhouse Chinese Taipei, which has won the women's World Championships nine consecutive times since 1980. This came after the team beat their Chinese Taipei rivals at the Asia Pacific Tchoukball Championships held in August last year in Malaysia. TODAY looks at what the indoor team sport is about, how popular it is around the world and here, and what is in store for Singapore tchoukball going forward.


WHAT IS TCHOUKBALL? FITB's website states that tchoukball's birth in the early 1970s can be traced to a Swiss biologist called Hermann Brandt who wanted to "construct the perfect team game whilst paying heed to his key concern of reducing injury". This is how it is played:

  • Each team consists of up to 12 players, but only seven are allowed on the playing court at any given time

  • One rebound frame or net is placed at each end of the court

  • Players score points for their teams by shooting the ball at the frame after a maximum of three passes

  • The ball must rebound to the field of play without being caught by a player from the other team

  • The team that scores the most points at the end of the allotted time wins

  • A match lasts for three periods of 15 minutes, with a maximum of five-minute intervals in between

  • No physical contact is allowed, and players can score goals on either side of the court

  • An unlimited number of player substitutions is allowed

Mr Delane Lim, president of Tchoukball Association of Singapore, told TODAY that tchoukball is pronounced “chook-ball”, with the word “tchouk” taken from the sound that is produced when the ball hits the rebound net.


HOW POPULAR IS THE SPORT GLOBALLY? Tchoukball is played in more than 80 countries, FITB said. It is not an Olympic sport. The world's top 10 women teams are from a mixed of territories from four continents: Asia (Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong), Africa (Cameroon), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay) and Europe (Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom). The Singapore men's team is ranked No. 3 in the world by FITB, while Chinese Taipei is No. 1. The other countries in the top 10 men teams similarly come from the same four continents: Asia (the Philippines), Africa (Benin, Cameroon), South America (Uruguay, Brazil) and Europe (Italy, Switzerland, the United Kingdom). HOW DID IT GROW IN SINGAPORE? Mr Lim said that tchoukball was first introduced in Singapore by FITB. In 2006, Mr Chris Huang, the current FITB president who was then the Secretary General for the Asia Pacific Tchoukball Federation, came to Singapore to promote tchoukball to a team of sports coaches, advocates and educators who eventually set up Tchoukball Association of Singapore in August 2008. The association promoted the sports to primary and secondary schools through the Sports Exposure Programme, a collaboration between Singapore Sports Council and the Ministry of Education.

The programme provides schools with a S$10,000 dollar-to-dollar matching grant to set up sports clubs for pre-approved sports programmes. Right now, there are 63 teams from 19 secondary schools and 58 teams from 20 primary schools that offer tchoukball as a co-curricular activity (CCA), Mr Lim said. However, the number of tchoukball CCAs in primary and secondary schools has been declining in recent years as schools pay more attention to funding nationally recognised sports, and have shut down tchoukball clubs, Mr Lim added. He did not provide figures.

The Tchoukball Association of Singapore said that some 400 players in 48 teams across various age categories took part in the Tchoukball Cup competition here last year.


WHAT NEXT? The Tchoukball Association of Singapore is not a national sports association and is run by volunteers. At present, coaches at the association provide their services pro bono while national athletes fund their own costs to travel and compete in international games.

The association also collects donations from parents of school-going players and players who are working adults, and pays the remaining balance of tournament fees.

Mr Lim said that moving forward, the national tchoukball men's and women’s teams are eyeing the upcoming World Youth Championships in July that will be held in Singapore as well as the Tchoukball World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, in August.

Both teams are focused on winning the title at the World Championships, and the association will raise money for the teams to travel to Prague since the association does not receive government funding, he added.

“We hope that the sport continues to develop in Singapore and gain more recognition so that our athletes can have more exposure to national and international championships," he said.

"We believe that tchoukball promotes youth development and fosters athletes with good discipline and character, and hope that more Singaporeans can have the opportunity to play tchoukball.”


CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article had given inaccurate information on the number of schools offering tchoukball as a co-curricular activity. The Tchoukball Association of Singapore (TAS) has clarified that 63 teams from 19 secondary schools and 58 teams from 20 primary schools do so. The article had also said that Mr Chris Huang was the head promoter of sports at the International Tchoukball Federation in 2006. The TAS has clarified that he was then the Secretary General for the Asia Pacific Tchoukball Federation.


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