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Formation of AFP: the Asia Federation of Pickleball that aims to passionately integrate sportsmanship in the continent through Pickleball

The Asia Federation of Pickleball (AFP) is formed to establish, jointly govern and promote the sport of Pickleball in all Asian countries.

Pickleball is one sport that is making a steady progress in the world sporting scenario. Pickleball is governed internationally by International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) that perpetuates the development and growth of the sport throughout the world.

Going in lines with IFP’s vision and mission, the Asia Federation of Pickleball (AFP) is formed to promote the sport in Asian countries. There is no dearth of world-class players in Asian countries, only it was needed to be presented before the world forum through the medium. AFP promises to bridge the gap between Asia and the other world bodies of Pickleball.

“In order to include any sport in Olympics or Asian Games, its international and continental bodies must be strong. So it is extremely necessary to have a prominent pyramidal governing body structure for integration and governance,” reflected Sunil Valavalkar, Vice Chairman of AFP.    

History of AFP

Sunil Valavalkar, the founder of All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), nurtured an idea of formation of a closely-knit Asian association that could passionately integrate sportsmanship in the continent through Pickleball players and officials.

“Back in 2015, I shared this idea with some close associates but my concept was twisted and some crude form of Asian body got emerged,” Sunil Valavalkar revealed.

However, in 2019, when Valavalkar visited USA, he had a meeting with Pat Murphy, President of IFP, where he shared his idea about the formation of an Asian governing body. Murphy assured him that IFP would consider the suggestion with utmost importance.

In the meantime, Valavalkar also shared his idea with Jimmy Tan of Singapore. Tan was quick in his decision and took the idea to the next level when he met Pat Murphy during Bainbridge Cup in Germany in July 2019. There were other stakeholders who present there to whom the idea seemed feasible; that helped Jimmy Tan to get an approval of all support from IFP.

The first draft of AFP’s constitution was prepared by Jimmy in September 2019 and was circulated to those Asian countries who were supposed to be probable associate members of AFP.  In December 2019, the final draft of the constitution was approved by the heads of the approved associate members in a meeting during Taiwan Open.

The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was conveyed by Jimmy Tan and executed digitally in the presence of representatives from all associate member countries.  A unanimous decision was taken by all member countries to contribute a voluntary amount towards initial corpus of AFP with Pat Murphy as the Chairman of the association.

“I thank Jimmy for his fast but steady execution of things. His systematic approach has helped AFP to see the light of the day,” Sunil Valavalkar commented.

Associate Members of AFP

India (All India Pickleball Association)

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei Pickleball Association)

Japan (Japan Pickleball Association)

Singapore (Singapore Pickleball Association)

Phillipines (Phillipine Pickleball Federation)

Mission and Vision of AFP

With the core values of integrity, passion and sportsmanship, the main objective of AFP is to reach maximum number of Asian countries and make them a part of this beautiful sport. The association has an eye to make Pickleball a part of the Asian Games. With the kind of experience and youth amalgamated in the organization, the dream of every player and official to see Pickleball being an Asian Games sport seems to be a fact of near future.

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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