SINGAPORE - The International Floorball Federation (IFF) Women's World Floorball Championship (WFC) will return to Singapore in 2023, nearly two decades after the Republic last hosted the event in 2005.
The 2023 tournament will be only the second time that the biennial Women's WFC is held outside of Europe.
The upcoming event will see entries from 16 countries, including world No. 14 Singapore, which has qualified directly as the tournament's host, and will involve at least 500 participants.
It will be held at the OCBC Arena and Singapore Indoor Stadium at the end of November or early December that year.
In the 2005 WFC, Singapore came in 11th out of 17 teams in the two-division tournament.
The successful bid marks the latest high for the sport here. At the 2019 WFC in Neuchatel, Switzerland, the national women's team achieved their best-ever finish of 12th since the tournament switched to a one-division format in 2011.
That feat was achieved shortly after they retained their gold medal at the 2019 SEA Games, following a 3-2 win over Thailand in the final.
Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Kenneth Ho hopes that hosting the WFC in 2023 will enable the women's team to build on their recent successes, saying: "This (their performance at the 2019 WFC) has a brought a great belief to our teams, (knowing) that they have the skills and capability to compete at the highest stage.
"And hopefully, with a strong support from our local fans from the stands, it might spur our team on to reach even greater heights."
He also believes that having the Women's WFC here will act as a springboard to developing the local and regional women's floorball scene, adding: "We are looking forward to deliver the best World Floorball Championship in Singapore, one that will elevate the women's game and inspire women and girls around the Asia-Pacific region.
"It will be a catalyst for ensuring the development of women's floorball continues in the Asia-Pacific region and globally."
National women's team captain Michelle Lok believes that holding the Women's WFC here will bring greater recognition to floorball in Singapore.
The 26-year-old said: "Hosting the Women's World Floorball Championship would put Singapore in the spotlight in the floorball world as it's a very popular sport in European countries.
"The event would be a huge and fantastic exposure for the floorball community here, especially for the younger ones. The youth would be inspired and motivated to work harder and hopefully strive to also be on the world stage one day, and hopefully up the standards of Singapore floorball."
Interest in the sport has also grown in recent years, with the number of divisions in the men's and women's competitions of the ActiveSG SFA League increasing from three and two respectively in 2010 to six and three.
Singapore had also hoped to stage the 2024 Men's World Floorball Championship, but hosting rights for that year's tournament have been awarded to Sweden.