Four for the price of one in Racketlon
Most of us think we’re doing pretty well if we get to grips with one sport, never mind four.
But Oliver Oxland is heading to Germany for a World Championships where his talent for hand-eye co-ordination will be crucial in a quartet of disciplines.
Six years ago, Oxland (pictured above) began playing Racketlon competitively, after reaching the final in his debut competition, but what is it exactly?
Racketlon is a combination of the four racket sports, table tennis, tennis, badminton and squash.
It involves competitors playing each other in all four, and the winner is determined by who scores the most points over the course of four sets.
The sport has only been around since early 2000s in the UK where it has a niche following.
It was first recognised in Scandinavia in the mid 1980s and is growing in popularity all over the world.
Denmark’s Jesper Ratzer is the man to beat, having won the world title no less than six times.
Even last year, when there wasn’t a World Championships, Ratzer won the next best thing – taking the European title in Prague.
The previous year, 2014, the World Championships were held in the UK at the Surrey Sports Centre where – yes, you guess it – Ratzer triumphed.
Having almost required an operation on a recurring wrist injury, Oxland, 29, is looking forward to the World Championships after his last tournament at Surrey Sports Park saw him reach the semi-finals.
“It’s hard to say, in terms of my expectations in Germany, a lot depends on the draw really, if I get a good one then I could go far, but if I get a really tough draw then I think it could be quite hard.
“I’ve just got to hope luck is on my side and that it takes me far, I think I will do well enough.”
Let’s hope he doesn’t come up against Mr Ratzer too early on…
With four individual sports to be played, it’s hard to be the same level in each of them, and Oxland has worked hard at squash in order to improve his game.
“Tennis is my number one sport, table tennis is number two. I’ve played both since about seven years old, so they’re my main ones.”
“In terms of the other two, I would say I’m slightly better at squash because I have improved my game a lot, but the rallies can last a very long time and it can become very physically demanding.”
If Racketlon sounds like a sport you’d like to get involved in, there are weekly Sunday sessions at Redbridge Sports Centre where you can train and improve your game, with experienced players. The sessions are £5 and everyone is welcome.