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Ultimate frisbee, global team sport garnering young people’s interest

AMMAN: A group photo of teammates participating in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan. – KUNA photos

AMMAN: Ultimate frisbee is a widespread international team sport that attracts many young men and women across the world in pickup games. Being a non-contact and self-refereed team game played by players with a flying disc, ultimate was developed by a group of students in the United States in 1968.

Although ultimate resembles many traditional sports like rugby in its athletic requirements, it is unlike most sports due to its focus on self-officiating. The popularity of the sport has spread quickly, taking hold as a free-spirited alternative to traditional organized sports. In recent years, college ultimate has attracted a greater number of traditional athletes, raising the level of competition and athleticism.

A picture taken during Kuwait’s participation in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan.

The player with the disc is called the thrower. The thrower may not run with the disc, but must instead move the disc by passing to teammates in any direction. Game rules state that points are scored by passing the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone, while players must not take steps while holding the disc. In Kuwait, a team consisting of players Sultan Al-Sultan and Lujain Al-Mullah took part in the Middle East and North Africa Ultimate Frisbee Championship held recently in Jordan.

Speaking on this maiden participation, Sultan said the game began to spread in Kuwait in 2017 thanks to social media campaigns and through youth occasions. Groups of young people involving males and females were initially interested in practicing this sport in spare times on beaches and pitches, and now there are at least a hundred players forming three teams who have occasional friendly competitions, he said.

Sultan pointed out it was the first time for a Kuwaiti sports team to partake in the recent ultimate frisbee event in Jordan. He stressed that players wishing to join his groups should be 18 years and above and have high fitness as well as physical flexibility as basic requirements.

Echoing Sultan’s views, Lujain Al-Mullah said that she has been praising ultimate frisbee for nearly three and a half years. She added that she and her teammates only began to play this sport in an earnest manner a year following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She regretted that most people believe that ultimate frisbee is an individual game that can only be practiced by children and youth on beaches and at parks.

Mullah elaborated that the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is the international sports federation responsible for world governance of flying disc (Frisbee) sports, including Ultimate, Beach Ultimate, Disc Golf, Freestyle, Guts, and Individual Events. WFDF is a federation of 103 member associations, which represent flying disc sports and their athletes in more than 100 countries. WFDF is an International Federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

On the basic rules of the sport, she said two teams of seven players compete on a playing field about the same length as a football field, but narrower. At each end of the playing field there is an end zone. Each team defends one end zone. They score a goal if one of their players catches the disc in the opposite end zone. On the latest 12-team competition held in Jordan, she said the Kuwaiti team came seventh by winning three games and losing three others, but won the Spirit of the Game Award, she said. A team from Dubai won the third version of the sports event, which attracted as many as 300 male and female players. – KUNA


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