NAIROBI, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The sport of pickleball was introduced to Kenya for the first time on Monday.
Pickleball started in Seattle, Washington in 1965 and is played using wooden racquets called "paddles". It combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis and is played by two or four players who hit a perforated plastic ball over a net.
"I have been promoting the game in Asia where its popularity is on the rise, but I want to use Kenya as a launching pad to bring the game to Africa," said Daniel Moore, the Japan Pickleball Association Ambassador.
Moore, 29, who hails from Colorado, worked for two years in Kenya before he relocated to Asia where he has introduced the game to Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, India and China among other countries.
"There are over two million people who play the game in the U.S. where the highest tournaments are the U.S. Open, Nationals, and Tournament of Champions. The game is akin to playing table tennis on a tennis court but of smaller measurement," Moore said. Only the serving side may score a point and play ends when one side commits a fault.
The first side to score 11 points and lead by at least two points wins the game. Moore donated a set of equipment to the JD Tennis Academy, but said that as the sport grows in popularity, there will be the need to import more gear from China and the U.S., the two countries that produce the bulk of the apparatus.
Mark Odaga, who played the game for the first time, said he will switch to the game from tennis because it is fun and easier to play. "Tennis is a high impact game that most people are apprehensive about playing. Pickleball can be played by any player regardless of age," he said.