Cebu gears up for ‘Pickleball Fever 2022’
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Pickleball, a fast-growing sport in the U.S., will be formally introduced to the Cebuano sports community through a series of events dubbed “Pickleball Fever 2022” this month.
Although it may sound unfamiliar to some, pickleball, once a recreational sport for seniors in the U.S., is now one of the most sought-after sport in recent years, drawing the attention of pro players in tennis, badminton, and table tennis.
In fact, pickleball already has a professional tournament in the U.S.
Pickleball’s rules, mechanics, and play style are similar to the more noted racket sports but it is less technical and more fun-filled.
In a zoom press conference on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, global pickleball ambassador Rodel O. Chiu and Cebu Pickleball’s Rnell Arsenal announced their upcoming event in Cebu, which aims to promote the sport they believe Cebuanos have the potential to excel in.
“[This] sport was invented in 1965. [It was] invented by three grandparents in Seattle, Washington. But soon, it became a popular sport in Northwest Pacific. It didn’t catch up with the fire until ten years ago, while two years ago, what started as a senior citizen sport, picked up young tennis players and even D1 players. The stroke, the mindset, and play are similar to tennis, table tennis, and badminton,” Chiu explained during the Zoom presser.
The series of events will start in Moalboal, south Cebu, where pickleball has been highly popular for locals and American ex-pats. The event is slated for June 13 to 14, while on June 15, it will head to the G2G sports center along Mango Avenue.
The main event from June 25 to 26 will be held at the City Wing atrium of the SM Seaside City Cebu.
The events highlight a pickleball clinic for beginners, intermediate and advanced players. In addition, it also features exhibition games and demonstrations from Chiu, who is based in Fort Worth, Texas.
“For the last five years, it became America’s fastest-growing sport. When I started playing this sport, I was the youngest because most of the people I played with are 65-years old and above,” Chiu added.
During the series of events, Chiu will be joined by juniors pro pickleball player Raphael Chiu and international pickleball instructor Ken Cuaderno from Nashville, Tennessee.
Chiu is currently completing a nationwide tour to introduce pickleball here in the country. He will be in Subic, Zambales, and Pangasinan for the rest of the week.
Chiu added that pickleball is inclusive regardless of age and gender, unlike other sports. Thus, it became viral in the U.S.
In addition, it’s an excellent alternative sport and workout for athletes who engage in other sports.
He firmly believes that Filipinos will love pickleball as basketball and boxing, the two most popular sports in the Philippines.
Arsenal, for his part, said that pickleball is perfect for Filipinos.
He explained that the sport doesn’t entirely require height, unlike basketball. That’s why he believes pickleball will become popular in the future.
“I’m barely five-feet tall. But you really don’t need to be tall for this sport. Our frame is perfect for this sport. As Filipinos, we’re agile, we easily adapt. There’s a big potential for us competing in the higher level,” said Arsenal.
Proof of this is that a Cebuana professional pickleball player is already making a name for herself in the sport in the U.S.
Sara Lee Ash, a Cebuana-born American in Arizona, is a testament that Filipinos can excel in pickleball. She is a three-time USA Pickleball Nationals medalist and has already amassed over a hundred medals in various tournaments under the 5.0+ skill level.
Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) Chairman John Pages will help assist Chiu during the series of events here in Cebu.
As a former tennis player and an organizer of one of Cebu’s premier junior tennis tournaments, Pages believes that pickleball will become one of Cebu’s mainstream sports in the future.
“CCSC will be here to help introduce the sport to Cebuanos. Although most Cebuanos haven’t played the sport yet, it will be formally introduced this month. So let’s see and try this sport. After that, we will see how it goes. Our goal at CCSC is always to help and promote all kinds of sport, and it happens that pickleball is one of the fastest-rising sports in America, so it would be great to introduce it to Cebuanos,” said Pages.
For more information about the sport and the upcoming events this month, check out Cebu Pickleball’s Facebook page.
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