Gateball (Japanese: ゲートボール Hepburn: gētobōru) is a mallet team sport inspired by croquet. It is a fast-paced, non-contact, highly strategic team game, which can be played by anyone regardless of age or gender.

Gateball is played on a rectangular court 20 metres (66 ft) long and 15 metres (49 ft) wide. Each court has three gates and a goal pole. The game is played by two teams (red and white) of up to five players. Each player has a numbered ball corresponding to their playing order. The odd-numbered balls are red and the even-numbered balls are white. Teams score one point for each ball hit through a gate and two points for hitting the goal pole, in accordance with the rules. A game of gateball lasts for thirty minutes and the winner is the team with the most points at the end of the game.

Playing Gate Ball
Playing Gateball
Highest governing bodyWorld Gateball Union
First played1947
Team membersYes
Mixed genderYes
TypeMallet Sport
EquipmentGateball sticks, gateballs
World GamesInvitational in 2001


Gateball was invented in Japan by Suzuki Kazunobu in 1947. At the time there was a severe shortage of rubber needed to make the balls used in many sports. Suzuki, then working in the lumber industry on the northern island of Hokkaido, realised there was a ready supply of the wood used to make croquet balls and mallets. He revised the rules of croquet and created gateball as a game for young people.[1]

Gateball first became popular in the late 1950s when a physical education instructor introduced gateball to the women's societies and senior citizens’ clubs of Kumamoto City. In 1962, the Kumamoto Gateball Association was formed and established a local set of rules. This version of the game became known nationally when it was demonstrated at a national fitness meet in Kumamoto in 1976. Shortly afterwards the gateball's popularity exploded as local government officials and representatives of senior citizens’ organisations introduced the sport around the country.[1]

In 1984, the Japanese Gateball Union (JGU) was founded. Under the leadership of its inaugural chairman, Ryoichi Sasakawa, the JGU developed a unified set of rules and organised the first national meet. The following year, the JGU joined with five countries and regions, China, Korea, Brazil, United States of America and Chinese Taipei, to form the World Gateball Union (WGU). The WGU has since been joined by Bolivia (1987), Paraguay (1987), Peru (1987), Argentina (1989), Canada (1989), Singapore (1994), Hong Kong (1998), Australia (2003), Macao (2005), Philippines (2012) and Indonesia (2013). [2]


Gateball is played between two teams of up to five people on a rectangular field 15-20 meters long and 20-25 wide. The two teams use five balls each, either red or white depending on the team, and play in an alternating fashion between red and white the balls numbered from 1 to 10. Each player plays the same ball throughout the game. At the beginning of the game the players, in order, place their ball in the designated “start area” and attempt to hit the ball through the first gate. If they successfully pass through the gate they may play again. If the player misses the first gate, or their ball passes through the first gate but ends up outside of the court, they pick up their ball and have to try again in the second round.(Since the 2015 rule changes, a ball going through the first gate but ending up out of bounds is deemed to have passed Gate1 but is an outball and will attempt to enter court on their next turn from the place the ball went outball).

When stroking, if the ball hits another ball, this is called a "touch". If both the stroker's ball and the touched ball remain within the inside line, the stroker shall step on the stroker's ball and place the other touched ball so that it is touching the stroker's ball, and hit the strokers ball with the stick (this play is called a “spark”), sending the other touched ball off as the result of the impact. By passing through a gate or sparking the ball, a player receives another turn.

One point is given for every gate the ball passes in order and two points for hitting the goal-pole. The winner is the team with the most points at the end of thirty minutes. As the red team always gets to play first, the white team always has the final turn, even if time has elapsed before the final white ball is called.


World Games

In 2001, gateball was included as an exhibition event at the 6th World Games. The competition was held in Akita Prefecture in Japan and was attended by teams from China, Japan, South Korea, the USA and Chinese Taipei. The final was won by a team of mostly teenage players from Japan.

World Gateball Championship

The World Gateball Championships are held every four years. The inaugural championship in 1986 was played in Hokkaido with teams from Brazil, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea and the United States of America. Subsequent championships were held in Hawaii (1998); Toyama, Japan (2002); Jeju, South Korea (2006); Shanghai, China( 2010); and Niigata (Japan) in 2014.

The 10th World Championship was played on 17-19 September 2010 in Shanghai China. The competition was contested by 96 teams from 14 countries/regions including Australia, Brazil, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Korea, Russia and the USA.[3]

The 12th World Championship was held in São Paulo In Brazil on September 21-23 in 2018.


  1. ^ a b Guttman, Allen and Lee Thompson (2001) Japanese Sport: A History. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links

American football at the World Games

American football was introduced as a World Games invitational sport at the 2005 World Games in Duisburg. There was also an American Football tournament at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw. Both times only a competition for the male sides was held with four national teams participating. In 2005 the participating countries were Germany, Australia, Sweden and France while in 2017 the US, Germany, France and Poland participated. The U.S. was represented by college players.

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Baseball at the World Games

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Beach handball at the World Games

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Floorball at the World Games

Floorball was contested at the 1997 World Games as an invitational sport. It will return to the World Games as an official sport in the 2017 edition. Only men's teams were allowed to compete in 1997 and the same will happen in 2017.

Hwangseong Park

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Indoor hockey at the World Games

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Inline hockey at the World Games

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People's Park (Haikou)

People's Park (Chinese: 人民公园; pinyin: Rénmín Gōngyuán) is a public park in Haikou, capital of Hainan Province, China. It is located in the centre of the city. It is bordered by Haixiu Road on the south. On northern boundary is Datong Road and East Lake.

Established in 1954, the park covers a total area of over 300 acres. During the late 2000s, it was renovated, with new pathways installed. It is one of four major parks in Haikou, and can be compared to Golden Bull Mountain Ridge Park, due to its high percentage of tree cover. The other two, Baishamen Park and Evergreen Park, consist mostly of open grass fields.

The park comprises a single, large hill, with a plateau at the summit. This landscape feature is unusual in Haikou, as the city is almost entirely flat. Hundreds of winding, narrow pathways are present among a wide variety of flora. Most of the park is covered with a canopy of trees providing mostly shady areas. Compared to other Haikou parks, such as Baishamen Park and Evergreen Park, People's Park is considerably more lush, and contains far more diverse and concentrated flora.

The park, being adjacent to numerous old neighbourhoods, is popular with local Hainan residents, in particular, senior citizens. Each morning, beginning at dawn, thousands of people arrive to partake in exercises. Ad hoc groups form to participate in such activities as badminton, ping pong, tai chi, square dancing, kung fu, jianzi, and aerobics. Tai chi and fitness dancing congregations dominate, with dozens of separate groups present throughout the park. The circular path around the summit plateau is occupied by hundreds of people walking for exercise. No bicycles are allowed in the park, and there is no admission fee.

The park contains many features and amenities, including:

Ping pong area with several tables

Public bathrooms

Convenience store

Police outpost

Exercise equipment

Gateball area

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Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China

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Yongchuan Sports Center

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The sports center includes a standard swimming pool with 500 seats gallery, six tennis courts, six basketball courts, four gateball courts and related facilities.

The site covers an area of 19.47 hectares and the total cost was 139 million yuan.

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Yuen Long Park

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