Pickleball is one sport that is making a steady progress in the world sporting scenario. Pickleball is governed internationally by International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) that perpetuates the development and growth of the sport throughout the world.
Going in lines with IFP’s vision and mission, the Asia Federation of Pickleball (AFP) is formed to promote the sport in Asian countries. There is no dearth of world-class players in Asian countries, only it was needed to be presented before the world forum through a medium. AFP promises to bridge the gap between Asia and the other world bodies of Pickleball.
“In order to include any sport in Olympics or Asian Games, its international and continental bodies must be strong. So it is extremely necessary to have a prominent pyramidal governing body structure for integration and governance,” reflected Sunil Valavalkar, Vice Chairman of AFP.
Sunil Valavalkar, Vice Chairman of AFP
History of AFP
Sunil Valavalkar, the founder of All India Pickleball Association (AIPA), nurtured an idea of formation of a closely-knit Asian association that could passionately integrate sportsmanship in the continent through Pickleball players and officials.
“Back in 2015, I shared this idea with some close associates but my concept was twisted and some crude form of Asian body got emerged,” Sunil Valavalkar revealed.
However, in 2019, when Valavalkar visited USA, he had a meeting with Pat Murphy, President of IFP, where he shared his idea about the formation of an Asian governing body. Murphy assured him that IFP would consider the suggestion with utmost importance.
In the meantime, Valavalkar also shared his idea with Jimmy Tan of Singapore. Jimmy was quick in his decision and took the idea to the next level when he met Pat Murphy during Bainbridge Cup in Germany in July 2019. There were other stakeholders present there to whom the idea seemed feasible; that helped Jimmy to get an approval of all support from IFP.
The first draft of AFP’s constitution was prepared by Jimmy in September 2019 and was circulated to those Asian countries who were supposed to be probable associate members of AFP. In December 2019, the final draft of the constitution was approved by the heads of the approved associate members in a meeting during Taiwan Open.
The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was conveyed by Jimmy Tan and executed digitally in the presence of representatives from all associate member countries. A unanimous decision was taken by all member countries to contribute a voluntary amount towards initial corpus of AFP with Pat Murphy as the Chairman of the association.
“I thank Jimmy for his fast but steady execution of things. His systematic approach has helped AFP to see the light of the day,” Sunil Valavalkar commented.
Associate Members of AFP
India (All India Pickleball Association)
Taiwan (Chinese Taipei Pickleball Association)
Japan (Japan Pickleball Association)
Singapore (Singapore Pickleball Association)
Phillipines (Phillipine Pickleball Federation)
Mission and Vision of AFP
With the core values of integrity, passion and sportsmanship, the main objective of AFP is to reach maximum number of Asian countries and make them a part of this beautiful sport. The association has an eye to make Pickleball a part of the Asian Games. With the kind of experience and youth amalgamated in the organization, the dream of every player and official to see Pickleball being an Asian Games sport seems to be a fact of near future.