Pickleball has already conquered US - could Parliament help it make it to the Olympic Games?

English Open, pickleball, Telford.
Credit: ITV News
The English Open being contested in Telford Credit: ITV News

Pickleball may sound like a side order at a fast food restaurant - but it is actually one of the world's fastest-growing sports.

Described as a mash-up of badminton, table tennis and the tennis played by the likes of Sir Andy Murray, it has a devoted following.

Now a small club in Bedfordshire could help send the sport to the Olympics.

Dunstable Hunters Pickleball Club asked their local MP, South West Bedfordshire Conservative Andrew Selous, to help it reach the summer games in Brisbane, Australia in 2032.

In the House of Commons on Thursday Mr Selous invited the sports minister to a club session at Dunstable Leisure Centre, saying: "Can we recognise pickleball as a national sport?

"And will the sport minister come to the Dunstable Hunters Pickleball Club, where he will see men, women, grandparents and grandchildren having a wonderful time?

Stuart Andrew, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for culture, media and sport, replied: "How can I possibly resist such an invitation?

"People are laughing, but this is becoming a more and more popular sport. For me, anything that gets people active and enjoying sport can only be positive, so I am happy to come to see it in action."

A delighted Andrew Selous MP reacts to the sports minister agreeing to visit Dunstable Hunters Pickleball Club

The game is now played by more than 36 million people in the US.

And a slew of famous faces - including former NFL quarterback and now Birmingham City shareholder Tom Brady and NBA star LeBron James - have invested in professional teams.

Such is the popularity in the US, there has even seen the launch of themed restaurants like Chicken N Pickle

Speaking after the sports minister accepted the invitation, Mr Selous said he had asked him to get pickleball listed as a national sport so it could have a chance of being in the 2032 Olympics

“I have joined the club as a member and very much enjoyed my taster session. I would encourage people to come along and try it out."

  • The exchange in the House of Commons.

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