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IRF forced into another move for World Racquetball Championships

The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) has been forced to move its 2018 World Championships for a second time after the facilities where the event was due to be held in Cali, Colombia, were demolished.

San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, will now be the new destination for the event from August 10-19.

The 2018 Worlds were originally due to be held in the Chinese city of Haining, but were then switched to Cali. Due to the infrastructure challenges in the Colombian city, the IRF has now been forced to select another new host, with Costa Rica being chosen over a rival offer from Bolivia.

The IRF said the decision was made mainly due to the fact that rearranging travel for staff and athletes was cheaper at such short notice for Costa Rica rather than Bolivia. IRF president Osvaldo Maggi apologised for the latest change in a statement on the federation’s website in which he admitted the unusual nature of the circumstances involved.

Maggi said: “This is the first time in my many years as a leader that the IRF has had to change the venue of the IRF World Championships. In 2018, for different reasons, multiple venues have found they could not host the World Championships. When China met challenges as intended host of this year's World Championships, Juan Manuel Gutiérrez of Cali, Colombia, came forward to host. 

“I wish to share what happened in the city of Cali, Colombia, where I worked closely with Sr. Gutiérrez. For many days, he was told that he needed to improve and maintain security at the courts. However, we really never felt security was an issue.

“On the very day that Sr. Gutiérrez was waiting for the final meeting to authorise going ahead with hosting the World Championships, the eight courts where we have enjoyed so many great IRF and PARC tournaments were being secretly demolished.

“We deeply regret the situation in which Sr. Gutiérrez has been placed. Under his leadership, we are sure that we will soon be able to return to Cali to compete at new facilities that will undoubtedly be created.”