Pesäpallo continues to shine in Asia

Bangladesh hosts its 3rd National Pesäpallo Championship tournament

Despite the difficulties encountered with the Coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has managed to host their 3rd National Pesäpallo Championships last weekend. The pitches are on grass and the equipment is not the same as the high tech specifications used in Superpesis, but the enthusiasm and effort put into arranging and playing the games was phenomenal. For these reasons, it is in fact reminiscent of the first Pesäpallo Championships in Finland.

Bangladesh has a strong national identity and it becomes very clear how much pride they take in their sporting achievements. As a young boy I recall Scotland losing to Bangladesh in the 1999 Cricket World Cup, a devastating blow for Scotland, but a great achievement for an emerging cricketing nation like Bangladesh. Fast forward to 2011 and Bangladesh beat England in the Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. By this time, Bangladesh had secured their place amongst the best cricketing nations and their fans celebrated across the world. In the 2019 Cricket World Cup I had the privilege of seeing Bangladesh play England in Cardiff; although it was a victory for England in the end, there can be no denying how proud and enthusiastic the Bangladeshi fans were – it was a real party atmosphere.

Pesäpallo in Bangladesh is still very much in its early stages, but it is rapidly growing in popularity and gaining recognition in the National media. The main drive for all of this was the success of the Bangladeshi teams at the 2019 Pesäpallo World Cup in Pune India, where they won Silver medals in the Women’s and the mixed tournaments and bronze in the Men’s. This was their first World Cup appearance!

No artificial turf, just like the origins of the game!

The Tournament

This year’s tournament was held over 3 days and the 3rd championship in Bangladesh and was between 8 teams:

  1. Bangladesh police
  2. Altab Hossain khan sriti sangshod
  3. Bangladesh Ansar 
  4. Savar community 
  5. Dhaka Zila 
  6. Sand Angel 
  7. Gajirchat kishor Academy 
  8. Tongi Sporting Club 

The tournament was a straight knockout tournament (much like the first National Championships in Finland).

In the first round Tongi had to pull out of the tournament, which gave Savar Community an automatic win and place in the semi finals. Bangladesh Police came into the tournament having won the last 2 titles and claimed victory in their first game 9-0 over Dhaka Zila. In the other games, Sand Angel beat Gajirchat Kishor Academy 5-0 and Bangladesh Ansar beat Altab 5-2 to make up the other teams in the semi-finals.

In the first of the semi-finals, Bangladesh Ansar took a convincing 13-2 win over Savar Community to reach their second consecutive final. Bangladesh Police almost saw their chance of a 3rd consecutive title slip through their fingers in a nail biting 1-0 win over Sand Angel.

The final saw Bangladesh Police concede the most runs they had done all tournament, but it was not enough for Bangladesh Ansar to overcome the score that  Bangladesh Police put on the board. Bangladesh Police won their 3rd championship with a convincing 17-5 win. The 3rd place match saw Sand Angel win against Savar Community; if only they had managed to break the Bangladesh Police’s defence in their semi-final, things could have been very different.

Bangladesh Police – the 2021 Bangladesh National Pesäpallo Champions
The champions are awarded their trophy
Ansar are awarded their runner-up trophy

The Future

One of the curious things about expanding a sport to different countries, is just how that sport develops and changes to fit with the cultural styles of play and the playing conditions. In Japan, baseball has enjoyed over 100 years of success and the style of play is less focussed on home runs and more on team play (much like pesäpallo). The fans in the stands have their own cheering sections and songs, as well as traditions; for example the Tokyo Swallows fans all get out umbrellas and sing a traditional folk song (Tokyo Ondo). By expanding pesäpallo we open up to a whole new word of exciting progress and development both on and off the field and create something special that bridges gaps between cultures.

The future looks promising for pesäpallo in Bangladesh, as well as other countries in the Indian subcontinent. It will be exciting to see what happens in the years to come and how the game will develop and become part of Bangladeshi culture.

If you want to learn more about Pesäpallo in Bangladesh, you can check out their Facebook page Bangladesh Pesäpallo Association

Or if you want to learn about international Pesis in general, join the English Language group on Facebook

Iain Alba

I am a massive sports fan from the UK. I grew up following and playing cricket, with interests in other sports and cultures from around the world. In about 2000 I started to watch Major League Baseball when it was on TV in the middle of the night and soon became excited about learning about more sports in America and around the world. In 2006 my career had hit a dead end and my wife and I started to think about emigrating to a different country. We decided to do research on countries we wanted to think about moving to; of course I decided to look into the 2 things that are most important in life... food and sport. When I discovered that Finland had a game similar to baseball, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to find out more. Back in 2006 there was little or no information in English and I didn’t speak Finnish; I was determined to follow the sport and translated the rules. I spent many hours watching live updates on Pesis Live when videos were not available and it quickly became my favourite sport. Unexpectedly, my career took off and plans to relocate faded away. In 2019 I decided that I wanted to focus more of my time on pesis and I decided that I wanted to start writing a blog in English about pesis, because there still wasn’t enough information available in English. Superpesis Roundup focuses on reviews of games, statistical analysis and opinion pieces on the similarities and differences between pesis, baseball and cricket. By March 2020 I had started to record the first English language podcast about Superpesis. The Superpesis Roundup podcast is now well established and gaining audiences from around the world.

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