Jombola, a sport for all walks of life

An exhibition match in progress.

KUCHING: The almost unknown sports in Sarawak, Jombola — which is almost similar to badminton, ping-pong or tennis — is spreading its wings here come May 28.

This would meet the objectives of the Sarawak Active Programme, which was launched by the Premier of Sarawak in March in Gedong.

Curtin University Malaysia sports science and sports consultant Dr Ong Kong Swee told the New Sarawak Tribune yesterday that Jombola was a sport for all ages.

Ong speaking at the press conference.

“It is a new sport and we want to make it into something that all people from all walks of life can enjoy actively.

“I can guarantee that there will not be any injury as the ball is high grade foam unlike a tennis ball, for instance, although the sport is played similar to a tennis game or a badminton game with a racquet. 

“The racquet is of single piece construction, once purchased, there is nothing left to repair or replace and the ball can last a long time unlike a shuttlecock or tennis ball, it is not breakable and cannot be damaged in normal play, except for the associated wear and tear,” said the former Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) CEO and Sarawak Sports Council director.

Accompanying Ong was Rajasegram, National Sports Enthusiasts Council secretary.

“There is no new infrastructure needed as Jombola can be played in a badminton or sepak takraw court using the same lines, and badminton courts are available everywhere. It is easy to play and not many lessons are needed and it is focused on the 3S — speed, skills and stamina,”said Rajasegram, adding that indoor as well as outdoor, Jombola was not much affected by the wind.

A close-up of the Jombola racquet and balls.

On promoting the sports in Sarawak, Ong said they wanted to start with the community and slowly proceed to the national and international levels. “We aim to make Sarawak as a home to Jombola as the state’s objective is also to become a sports powerhouse.”

Similarly, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Entrepreneur Development’s principal assistant secretary, Zulkarnain Ismail, who was also present at the interview, said the Sarawak Active Programme was an ongoing programme to encourage sports culture in the community.

“Jombola can be part of the Sarawak Active Programme that involves all communities in all divisions in Sarawak.” 

He also said that the programme had so far, since its introduction, captured all levels of community sports such as futsal, badminton, zumba and cycling organised simultaneously throughout the state.

“With the introduction of Jombola into the programme, it may support and encourage more Sarawakians to be active and participate in sports.” 

Zulkarnain (fourth from left) with Ong (second from left), Rajasegram (centre) and others holding the Jombola equipment. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

INFO: Although Jombola is not entirely a new game in the sporting scene, it’s still relatively unknown to many. This unique game merges the playing skills of tennis and squash, the point systems of badminton and the gameplay of table tennis.

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