James Burbidge ends his fantastic World Games Previews with the hosts Colombia!
Maria Angelica Forero
Luis Miguel Ibargen
About the Team
Mixed is not a feature of Colombian ultimate, but combine the top players from each of the divisions and they form a fierce mixed team. Youth ultimate is exploding in Colombia, and that is reflected on the team too – several of the players have opted for World Games rather than the u23 competition in Toronto, and most have come through the juniors programme.
Colombia’s women’s teams have been particularly dominant in the last few years (2 golds for the junior team, 4that WUGC2012), and their women will be one of their strongest assets in Cali. Yina Cartagena in particular looks like that potent combination of a cutter with big throws. Meanwhile Elizabeth Mosquera has the height to match-up with any team’s deep cutters and Laura Ospina has a nose for the goal.
On the men’s side, Mauricio Martinez controls the Colombian’s offense as one of their more experienced handlers. Luis Miguel Ibargen made a name for himself at Junior Worlds last year and Santiago Montano won MVP of the mixed division at WUGC in Japan. Meanwhile Julio Duque has been playing with Colony in Australia where he made enough plays to merit his own highlight reel.
Coaches and Expected Playing Style
Like Japan the Colombian team is not particularly tall and relies on the speed to generate offense. Expect to see a pair of male handlers getting the disc into the hands of their dominating female cutters who are extremely comfortable breaking the force or hucking it deep. Colombia are an extremely passionate team, and on the defense this translates as an exciting – bid-heavy – man-to-man play. Whilst they have previously been known for having their own interpretations of the rules and spirit of the game, in recent years they won spirit medals at international tournaments.
The team is coached by Andres Polani, a fixture at club team Matanga, and Andres Angel, a player/coach for one of Colombia’s more successful international teams, Euforia.
Expected Finishing Place
Whilst the home crowd and lack-of-travel advantage is not to be underestimated, it remains to be seen whether Colombia has what it takes to translate success on the junior level to that at the elite senior level. Whilst I don’t expect them to go necessarily go winless, I also don’t expect them to break into the top 4.
That’s that done but now the playing begins! DP @ tSG.