Although the origin of this game dates back to ancient Rome, fistball has not yet had the honour of being included among the Olympic sports. If it does happen, however, the German national team will be a sure candidate for a medal. The best teams could be thwarted by the Poles, although fistball is still a niche sport in our country.
The World Fistball Championships, organized since 1968, usually end as in the famous football adage, i.e. with the final triumph of Germany. In each of the fifteen editions so far, our neighbors from across the Oder River have stood on the podium, of which as many as 12 times on the highest step. What is more, during the inaugural championships they took as many as two trophies – the gold went to the Federal Republic of Germany, while the bronze was won by the representation of the GDR.
It is in the Alpine countries that fistball, known locally as faustball, enjoys its greatest popularity. Outside Europe, Brazilians (two-time world champions) and Americans also enjoy playing this unusual sport. Each of these nations has rich volleyball traditions, which partly explains their fascination with fistball. It is a peculiar combination of volleyball and tennis. Fistball is a peculiar combination of volleyball and tennis, with the former sport providing a single bounce and a way of counting points, and the latter providing a way of playing and hitting the ball through the net, although this is done with a clenched fist. The game involves two teams of 5 players, and the team that wins three sets first wins. An additional difficulty is the fact that players cannot move freely on a grass pitch (standard dimensions are 50×20 m – ed.).
However, the rapid development of fistball was hampered by World War II. If it had not been for the greatest armed conflict in the history of mankind, perhaps we would have long been thrilled with the struggle of the best five-person teams at the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, in many parts of the world it remains a niche sport, also in Poland. Suffice it to say that only three years ago the Polish Fistball Association was established to popularize this game in Poland. Despite this, our teams are doing at least decently in the international arena. In 2019, the women’s team won 5th place in Europe, while the men’s team took 14th place in its debut at the World Cup.
With the continued absence of the Olympics, The World Games has therefore grown to become one of the most important fistball events. The previous edition, held in Wroclaw, ended in victory – of course – Germany. Silver fell then in the hands of the Swiss, and bronze to Austria. Unfortunately, the White-Red were missing from the best six.
Featured image: Wikipedia