In an effort to be able offer both an IRF World Championships (Adult) and an IRF World Junior Championships, as well as to be mindful of and concerned for the pandemic-related health and safety of country delegations as well as the host countries themselves, on August 28th, the IRF announced changes in plans for both events.
The IRF World Championships (Adult) will take place at the same time as the IRF World Junior Championships in late November/early December in Guatemala City, Guatemala. This reflects a change in dates but not location since Guatemala City was the originally announced host country.
The IRF World Junior Championships dates reflect only a small change (see below), but the host country is Guatemala and not Costa Rica as previously planned. The IRF hopes to return to Costa Rica in 2022, and they are grateful for Costa Rica’s dedicated ongoing partnership in serving the worldwide racquetball family.
Official invitations are being developed for both events and will reach national federations soon. Everyone planning to participate has been strongly advised to receive the official invitations before booking airfare. Even then, the IRF suggests researching refundable flights and/or travel insurance possibilities since the pandemic often compels changes as new information comes available.
The general plan, subject to modifications, is:
- Adult event arrivals and practice the last weekend of November
- Juniors arrive the first part of the week of 29 November
- Adults and Juniors compete simultaneously for several days
- Adults conclude the first half of the week of 6 December
- Juniors continue competition through the end of that week, likely traveling home on the originally planned date of 12 December
While the IRF certainly recognizes that this schedule will present various challenges for the delegations and for the IRF, they are excited at the prospect of Junior players being able to meet the world’s best racquetball athletes and hopefully observe them compete in a World Championships event (pandemic measures permitting).
To address that point, the IRF is working to develop protocols and approaches to put as many safety measures into place as necessary and indicated to reduce risk. Their first priority is the well-being of everyone involved.
The IRF appreciates the collaboration and relationship with the IRT and LPRT as they worked together to find the best way to be able to host these IRF international competitions with as little impact as possible on their event schedules.
With more information to come, the IRF is grateful for the understanding and flexibility on everyone’s part as everyone continues to navigate the pandemic as best they can in their lives and in their sport.
Along with their announcement, the IRF mentioned mention two uplifting points:
They are excited for Guatemala as they host their first international event on their long-awaited brand new courts. Congratulations to Guatemala!
The IRF World Championships (Adult) is the sole qualifier for the 16 men’s singles positions and 16 women’s singles positions that will be competed in The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, next summer. Players qualify for themselves, not as country representatives. Good luck to all!