Cycle soccer hopes World Cup fever will help the sport

Thu Jun 3, 2010 4:18am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - There are no Lionel Messi's, Cristiano Ronaldo's, nor any Wayne Rooney's in this World Cup, but the heat is on as teams around the world practice ahead of the World Cycle Ball Championship in Germany this year.

Cycle Ball, also know as cycle soccer or radball, is not new.

It dates back to the end of the 19th century, with laborers who wanted to play polo but couldn't afford horses.

Now the game has become popular in many parts of Europe and Japan, where it was introduced 40 years ago.

Ko Matsuda has been playing the game since he was 18 and has represented Japan seven times at the annual world championships.

"Cycle soccer allows us to enjoy the fun of riding a bicycle and the emotions of a ball game, at the same time," Matsuda told Reuters television.

The Indoor Cycling World Championships will be staged in Stuttgart, November 26-28, 2010.

There are only around 200 competitive cycle soccer players in Japan, according to the Japan Federation of Indoor Cycling website, but they hope the World Cup fever generated in South Africa starting June will help bring attention to their sport.

But there are some obvious differences between the sports.   Continued...