The Surinamese korfball team is leaving the Netherlands today for Birmingham, Alabama, in the USA to represent Suriname at the World Games. It is an international sporting event of non-Olympic sports, organized every four years. The korfball team, which played its last training match on July 2, will participate in the World Games from July 13-17, 2022.
Suriname is ranked in Group B along with Belgium, China and Germany. Being first or second in the group means qualifying for the semi-finals. The final battle is on July 17. With this participation, not only Suriname, but the whole of South America will be represented as Suriname will be the only South American country to participate in the sporting event.
The korfball team consists of women and men of Surinamese origin. Evan Karsters and Captain Randel van der Steen are proud to represent their country on the world stage. The Karsters indicate that they want to put Suriname on the map by participating in this type of tournament. “Although we do not live here, we are proud of our country Suriname. We have to do it together and we hope that the people and government of Suriname will support us.”
The Suriname korfball team finished first in 2018 at the Pan-Am Games in Colombia – what is considered the South American Championship – and thus qualified for the World Championships in Durban, South Africa. According to statistics, this makes the team the first Surinamese sports team to participate in the World Cup.
In South Africa, in a field of twenty countries, sixth place was taken, which was good for participation in the World Games in Birmingham. The world’s top eight will eventually compete in Birmingham. The Surinamese korfball team is still the current South American champion.
In 2017, the Surinamese Korfball Association was established with the aim of introducing Suriname into this branch of the sport and thus breathing new life into it. “Sports should be reintroduced in Suriname and the interest of young people in this unique sport must be re-introduced,” says van der Steen. Korfball is called unique because it is the only sport in the world where men and women team up to win matches.
“Gender equality is what makes this sport beautiful and unique,” van der Steen adds. Athletes further note that there is a lot of talent in Suriname, which they hope to discover and develop. The federation is already in talks with the government of Suriname to structurally launch Curveball through training and lessons in schools. She also hopes to get government support to be able to participate in the World Cup again.
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