Shahul Hameed Al Barilan’s run in the World Teqball championships came to an end in the last 16 in Budapest yesterday.
The Malaysian ace was beaten 10-20, 20-10, 10-20 by Algerian Fetih Larit and missed out on the chance of a quarter-final berth.
The 21-year-old had qualified for the knockout stages after topping his group in the preliminary rounds. He had upset eight seeded Brazilian Natalia Guitler (20-16), Gregory Engelbrecht of Aruba (20-8), Canadian Mohammad Heydarpour (20-17) and David Mennie of Scotland (20-5) in the group stages.
Shahul was a member of the MISC-MIFA football squad and was a former Malaysian Junior international before taking up teqball.
Making the knockout stage is an achievement by itself as the sport is fairly new to the Malaysians.
Earlier last month in Sanya, China, Shahul and Muhammad Eizlan Rakhil had combined to bag the doubles title at the Asia Pacific Beach Cup defeating Japan’s Akinori Wase-Daishuke Yajima in the final.
Teqball is a sport played between two players as a singles game or between three or four players as a doubles game, which resembles table tennis. It is played on a curved table and with a ball similar to a football, hit by any part of the body except the hands. The game is represented at an international level by the Fédération Internationale de Teqball (FITEQ).
Teqball was invented in 2014 in Hungary by two football enthusiasts, Gábor Borsányi, a former professional player and Viktor Huszár, a computer scientist.
The game has attracted many former international football stars including Brazilian living legend Ronaldinho and Neymar.
Brazilian Natalia, whom Shahul defeated in the group matches, picked up the game from Ronaldinho. She is also a singles and doubles world champion at footvolley.