For the first time, the most prestigious tournament of the Teqball left Europe and headed to Bangkok, Thailand, and it is quite fitting that this event celebrated the first Asian world champions, too. A record number of teqers and countries took part, a record number of games were played, and Ronaldinho contributed in gala match, but in the end, only five champions were crowned in the five categories at the World Teqball Championships 2023.

It is almost crazy to think about that Brazil had not won a gold medal in any individual category prior to the sixth edition of the Worlds Champs. But this was the case until Rafaella Fontes (who won one title in doubles two years ago and a bronze in singles in 2022) claimed the country’s first in the World Teqball Championships 2023, in front of the eyes of one of her idols, Ronaldinho Gaucho. Her path to victory was not easy at all: after winning the groups stage and getting a bye for the first elimination round, she ran into Polish Agnieszka Rybicka and after defeating her in two sets, she did the same to Spanish Silvia Ferrer Garcia. Then came European Champion Kinga Barabasi from Romania in the semifinal, where Fontes dominated the opening set and followed it up with a close win. In the final, she had to face home player Jutatip Kuntatong and her enthusiastic fans, which meant a rematch from last year’s thrilling quarterfinal that ended in overtime in favor of Fontes. The Brazilian would not be disturbed by the crowd and won 2:0, and did not lose her confidence even when Kuntatong made a huge comeback at the end of the second set. The Thai finished second and Barabasi came in third after closing out 2022 champion Carolyn Greco (USA) in the bronze medal game. 

Women’s singles, final: 

Jutatip Kuntatong (THA)–Rafaella Fontes (BRA) 0:2 (-8, -10) 

“It is a very special moment for me, something I have been looking for since last year, or since I started Teqball. I knew it was not going to be easy, but I have God who is with me, who says I can do all things and gives me the strength to be here, Also, I was very happy that Ronaldinho was here, he just gave me more motivation to go on, to win this championship, to give my all here. I really thank him for being present, for everything, he is a sensational person, and he deserves everything he achieved. I am also grateful to everyone who was watching, everyone from Brazil. Very happy to be Brazil’s first individual champion!” – said the new queen of the Teq world, Rafaella Fontes, who then shared the table with the football legend for a gala match. 

Adrian Duszak’s run was similar to Fontes’ as he did not lose a single set, and to make his feat even more impressive: he only conceded 10 points in one set, the first one in the final against defending champion Apor Gyorgydeak, where he came back from being down 10:9 with three straight points.  

He was already one of Teqball’s most decorated players and put together a resume that would have been Hall of Fame-worthy without a world title. But this gold medal puts him on the top shelf right next to the all-time greats and the most successful teqers. In Thailand, he dethroned his nemesis, Gyorgydeak, to whom he lost to two finals before: the first one a year ago in Nuremberg and then the first-ever European Championship gold medal game, which was even more heartbreaking as he suffered the loss in Krakow, in front of thousands of Polish fans. But in Bangkok, his time came, and after two silvers and three bronzes, he finally conquered the Teq world. Gyorgydeak finished second and Frenchman Hugo Rabeux took home the bronze, his second this year after collecting one in Krakow after winning against his friend, Danish Brian Mengel Thomsen. 

Men’s singles, final: 

Apor Gyorgydeak (ROU)–Adrian Duszak (POL) 0:2 (-10, 9) 

“I’ve waited 6 years for this moment, and it is so incredible that Ronaldinho presented me with the trophy. I really do not know what to say. My dream has come true after three bronze medals and two silvers, it is the best thing in the World! My mind was very clear, I was focusing on myself through every single point, I talked to myself a lot, whether I won or lost the point, and it helped me.” – said Adrian Duszak, who also won Poland’s first world championship. 

In the men’s doubles, the odds-on favorite matchup to happen in the final was the three-time champion Serbians versus the European champion Hungarians. However, the Brazilian duo of Rodrigo Bento Medeiros&Mathes Ferraz had other ideas and spoiled Nikola Mitro’s and Bogdan Marojevic’s plan to defend their title and ended their streak of four finals in a row. Hungary did not follow their rivals and marched into the gold medal game by defeating Thailand, and in the final, they just would not be denied. Csaba Banyik and Balazs Katz had a fabulous year with only two losses and finished 2023 with a gold in the two biggest tournaments. The Brazils claimed the second after just missing the podium in the past two World Championships. 

Men’s doubles, final
Rodrigo Bento Medeiros, Matheus Ferraz (BRA)–Csaba Banyik, Balazs Katz (HUN) 0:2 (-4, -12) 

“We were a bit tired before the match, but we knew that the adrenaline would help us overcome it and take us to the promised land. We were in the zone, focused on each other and our job during the whole game. We did not have to adjust a lot on our tactics, the Brazilians play a similar game to the Serbians so we were prepared. Congratulations to Brazil, they outplayed the Serbs and deserved to be in the final, but today was our day! And we are still hungry for more wins” – said the happy Balazs Katz and Csaba Banyik, who won two gold medals on the two biggest stages in 2023. 

The women’s doubles final was the one that will go down in history as a milestone for Teqball. Jutatip Kuntatong and Suphawadi Wongkhamchan lived up to the expectations as the Thai dou was the consensus pick to be the winner of this category. They captured many hearts with their acrobatic style, but it wasn’t the only aspect of the game that catapulted them to the top of the podium. They served great, played smart and enjoyed the crowd’s support from Day 1, and when they scored the last point of the final against Hungarians Petra Pechy&Nora Vicsek, they immediately became part of history as the sport’s first Thai and Asian world champions. Pechy and Vicsek were awarded with the silver, their first medal in a major tournament, while Brazilians Ester Viana Mendes and Vanai Moraes da Cruz finished third. 

Women’s doubles, final
Suphawadi Wongkhamchan, Jutatip Kuntatong (THA)–Petra Pechy, Nora Vicsek (HUN) 2:0 (8-, 6-) 

“We are grateful for our coach who taught us everything, overlooked our preparation and let us know what we need to improve. We felt the pressure of being the favorites but tried to only focus on giving our best. We are happy to be the first world champions of Thailand and Asia also, but we are not done yet!” – said Jutatip Kuntatong and Suphawadi Wongkhamchan after they wrote history. 

The Thai celebration reached its top as the last match of the World Teqball Championships 2023 ended with a home W. Suphawadi Wongkhamchan and Phakpong Dejareon were both involved previously on Sunday (just like Vania Moraes da Cruz), but they showed no signs of being tired or pressured by the expectations. They dominated from the get-go against Brazilians Vania Moraes da Cruz and Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida, who could only make it close in the second set of the mixed finals, but the Thais were as resilient as it gets and fulfilled their own and the fans’ dreams by running through their opponents. They ended the tournament on the highest not possible by winning the day’s second gold medal for the hosts and finishing at the top of the medal ranking. This Brazilian unit finished second for the third time in a row, while Hungarians Krisztian Acs and Csaba Banyik claimed the bronze. 

Mixed doubles, final
Vania Moraes da Cruz, Leonardo Lindoso de Almeida (BRA)–Suphawadi Wongkhamchan, Phakpong Dejaroen (THA) 0:2 (-4, -9) 

“This is the best day ever and exceeds our bravest expectations! We hope that this performance will help our case to bring more sponsors to Thai Teqball. It is the first step for us, definitely a great one and we promise that there is more to come!” – said the understandably happy Suphawadi Wongkhamchan and Phakpong Dejaroen. 

Final medal rankings: 

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total 
Thailand 2