Press Release: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / June 20, 2003
Press Contact: USA: Chris Ott, Marketing Director, IFPA, +1-707-576-8145
Press Contact: Europe: Tomas Tyrpekl, Czech Footbag Ass'n, tms@footbag.cz

TWENTY-FOURTH ANNUAL IFPA WORLD FOOTBAG CHAMPIONSHIPS
FINALS TO BE HELD IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC, AUGUST 1-3

You may think of it as "hacky-sack," but the name of the sport is "footbag" - and the world's most amazing practitioners will converge on the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic, in early August for one of the most unusual and captivating athletic competitions of the year. It's the 24rd Annual IFPA World Footbag Championships.

Players will attend from all around the world - nearby countries such as Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Finland, France, Holland, Hungary, and many more - as well as faraway places like the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. These are just a few of the countries where footbag is a well-organized and keenly-appreciated sport.

The defending World Champion in freestyle footbag is only 16 years old, and just happens to be from Prague! Young footbag prodigy, Vasek Klouda, will defend his title on home turf against the previous world champion, Ryan Mulroney, from the United States. Klouda took the reigns from then-champion Mulroney at last year's event in San Francisco. Now it's Ryan's turn to try to return the favor! Competition in freestyle promises to be hotter than ever, as players choreograph routines to music like nobody has ever seen before.

The footbag net competition will allow the up-and-coming players of Europe a chance to try their setting, spiking, and digging skills against the best players in the sport to date - including reigning multi-time world champion, EmmanuŽl Bouchard, of Montreal, Canada - for the first time ever. We'll see if the newer players in Europe can "hack it" and take down the old guard!

This will undoubtedly be one of the most impressive new athletic events in Europe in 2003.

Footbag competition is overseen by the International Footbag Players' Association, which is the international governing body for the sport. IFPA, Inc., is a US-based 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote amateur athletics and international competition in the two primary footbag disciplines, Freestyle and Net Footbag.

"Net Footbag?" Think volleyball. With your feet. "Martial Arts over a five-foot high net." Athletes dig, set and hammer the footbag across the net, often hurtling their bodies through the air, head over heels, legs flying. Yet the footbag, a ball measuring just two inches in diameter, is successfully knocked from one side to the other until the hard- fought point is snatched and the battle begins again. As the world's great soccer legend Pelť exclaimed in astonishment upon first witnessing championship footbag play, "This is incredible! I can't believe anyone could be so coordinated with their feet!" The World Net Footbag Championships are an exciting, adrenaline-pumping virtuoso display.

Freestyle Footbag, on the other hand, is a raw and powerful mix of dance, juggling and balance as competitors work the footbag, sometimes in carefully choreographed routines, sometimes with jazz-like improvisational authority, set to music ranging from rap to classical to rock. The competition can be compared to figure skating or gymnastics, yet it's more unpredictable and edgy, with a vast array of personal styles and interpretations revealed. Hundreds were turned away from last year's sold-out World Freestyle Championships - and one exposure tells why. There's simply no other athletic discipline on earth requiring so many disparate skills. Spinning, stepping, jumping, two- and sometimes three-bag juggling, all in perfect synchrony and with rare drops at the top levels of play. At this competition, one sees a rare mixture or art, grace, and technique.

The entire event will take place at the expansive sports complex, Slavia, in the Prague 10 district of Vrsovice. The street address is Vladivostocka 1460/10, Praha 10.

The schedule of main events for the finals weekend are:

FREESTYLE COMPETITION (featuring local sensation, Vasek Klouda):
* In the big tent at Slavia
Semi-finals - Friday, August 1, 7:30 pm
Finals - Saturday, August 2, 7:30 pm

NET COMPETITION:
* Outdoors on the athletic field at Slavia (rain location: Slavia gymnasium)
Semi-finals - Saturday, August 2, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Finals - Sunday, August 3, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

TICKETS:
One day: 3 Euro
Three days: 6 Euro


The IFPA's website, www.footbag.org, is the single source of information for the sport, used by players around the world to access the official rules, instructional materials, and other information about the sport, clubs, and competitions world-wide. The IFPA World Footbag Championships are held in a different city every year. This is the first year in the history of the sport of footbag that the World Championships will be held outside North America. In last few years, the event has been in San Francisco, Vancouver (Canada), Chicago, Portland (Oregon, USA), and Montreal (Canada).


For more information, the public may phone the Czech Footbag Association at +420 603 877 876, or visit the official website of the World Championships, at www.footbag.org/worlds2003 . Press-ready digital photos and answers to any questions may be obtained via e-mail to worlds03@ifpa.footbag.org.

Footbag worldwide International Footbag Players Association  Czech Footbag Association

© IFPA & CFA 2003, All rights reserved
International Footbag Players' Association, Inc. A U.S. 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation.
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