We have so much respect for our partners at VX for creating a new sport and building it from the ground up. And it’s because of that innovation that their World Cup in Italy this year – the first they have taken outside of England – is such an impressive achievement. We talked to founder Paul Hildreth to find out how it went.
Disappointment despite success
We have a VX (team) World Cup every four years and a V2 (singles) World Cup every year.
The V2 World Cup started in 2011, the youth category was added in 2012 and this year was the fourth year of the Masters category. Overall we have had 13 countries competing in our World Cups but they obviously don’t all get there every year!
The 2017 V2 World Cup was the first year it was held outside the UK. It was hosted by VX Italia in Albavilla near Como and was shaping up to be the biggest and best yet.
Ten countries were intending coming along and the number of potential players was causing a scheduling headache. As time went on circumstances changed for people and we ended up with seven countries confirming their attendance.
Unfortunately the German competitor is a soldier and his leave was cancelled as he was sent on manoeuvres.
The big setback however was that all the Ugandan and Indian players had their visas refused at the last minute – all our printing and scheduling had been done and the Indians had even paid for their flights.
All the preparation, commitment and hard work that these players had put in over the past months, wiped out by a bureaucrat in an office somewhere. This meant that instead of seven countries we had four – England, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark.
Despite the disappointment – and yes, anger – about the visas it was still a superb tournament.
The standard gets higher every year and it was great to have a new country, with Switzerland joining us. The tournament is always played in a wonderful sporting atmosphere leaving everyone with a real buzz!
— VX International (@pmhildreth) August 23, 2017
“There is always history being made”
With the sport being a young sport there is always history being made.
There were lots of individual triumphs as people improved their rankings and the Italians made a great impression with one of them gaining an impressive ranking of 5th.
Scott Snowdon was looking to be the first player to win the Senior World Cup three times, and he beat my son Tom Hildreth in the final.
Tom and Scott are so close that it all depends on what happens on the day. These two really are at the top of the sport and always give an incredible spectacle for the spectators.
Elsewhere we had Matthew Leyshon win the youth category with Jess Porter as runner-up, and I won the Masters again with Leigh Branton as runner-up.
And finally, in our Cornerstones Award – named for the four cornerstones of the sport, honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and respect – Jess won for second year in a row. That’s voted for by the players themselves, so it’s always a nice one to win.
“Seeing VX spread makes me very proud”
It’s an amazing feeling to be hosting these World Cups.
I love getting on the Internet and seeing the posts from the guys in Uganda, India, Italy, the Basque Country etc.
The sport has an impact like nothing I’ve ever known and seeing it spread across other countries makes me very proud.
With the sport developing in different countries we all learn from each other – it was great to see some of the new techniques the Italians have developed.
The Danes have asked to come over in autumn for coaching, to learn from the English players.
These tournaments also give a boost to the growth of the sport in the hosting country – it should have given the Italians a real boost and the head of VX Italy tells me the guys over there are already talking about when they can play us again.
— VX International (@pmhildreth) August 17, 2017
“There aren’t enough hours in the day!”
There’s lots in the pipeline – we hope to announce a new NGB in Hong Kong soon, plus we are on the verge of being able to announce our first two Regional Associations in the UK, which will be a big step for us, getting to the point where we have a regional structure.
We’re also talking to a number of organisations about becoming Regional Centres of Excellence.
We are starting work on the 2018 European Championships and next month the preparations for the 2018 V2 World Cup start in earnest. The 2018 V2 World Cup is to be held in India and there is already a lot of interest in attending.
Next week I fly out to Vienna for the inaugural meeting of the SRA which is like a Federation for Minority Sports.
It’s something that will give sports like ours a voice and hopefully help us overcome all the barriers that bureacrats are so fond of putting in the way!
There’s so much happening at the moment there just aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s fantastic! In fact, it’s vXcellent!
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