Ravi Vasudevan continues his in-depth look into the Men’s division with an assessment of where things stand heading into power pools.
Monday marked the end of pool play, so we are on to power pools today. The winners of these pools get a guaranteed spot in the quarter-finals with a crossover match against another pool winner. The second and third seed of each pool face each other in a pre-quarter and the fourth place team moves straight to the ninth place bracket. Let’s take a look at these pools.
Sean Colfer spoke to many of the USA Ultimate U23 team members about the ongoing efforts in the USA to not only dominate but develop.
Ultimate is now a global sport, as evidenced recently by recognition from the International Olympic Committee. However, one country has more of an effect on the global Ultimate community than any other. It’s the Ultimate equivalent of the Premier League; everyone watches their championships and many of their players are well-known in Ultimate communities around the world. It’s so dominant that their closest neighbours, who might well be the second-best Ultimate nation around, regularly visit to compete against the best. That country is, of course, the United States of America.
Charlie Blair talked to Team India at U23 in London and discussed Women’s Ultimate in India.
The Indian team’s presence at Under 23 World Championships this year was a welcome and wonderful addition to the international stage. Although this was by no means the first national team to represent India, the 2015 Under 23 team is considered the first truly Indian team, after having been trialled and selected on ability alone. Before arriving in London, they had already captured the world’s attention with two short films documenting their inspiring journey: Nicky Smith’s Everybody Plays and the Sundance Short Film Winner, 175 Grams. Thanks to a hugely successful sponsorship campaign and donations from across the world, this team has brought together players from different economic backgrounds, castes and languages, as well as both sexes.
As in most countries, in India the opportunities to participate in sport are largely designed and dominated by boys and men. However, Ultimate’s culture of equality that is part of the Spirit of the Game and promoted by the community not only facilitates an opportunity to provide girls with an outlet for sport where few exist, but is a powerful tool that has the potential to help change attitudes towards women in general.
Sean Colfer looks at the unique situation in Spanish Ultimate
Despite a huge sports-loving population, Spain have struggled to develop into a team that can compete at the level of other European Ultimate countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Their team at these championships is the first Under 23s team they have assembled, and it was no mean feat. Many of the players are students, and some of the best players eligible are going to Copenhagen and so were unable to come to London.
However, the coaches of the team have seen progress here, and hopefully will be seeing more across the country, both with changes that are being made to how Spanish Ultimate works and with good work going on in some clubs with players at a younger age. Nicky Chapman explains:
“This team didn’t have a lot of time to train together before the tournament. Some of the players have had to get to know each other and how each other play during the tournament which has made it hard, but we are happy with their development. We have been working with them and want them to learn specific things to help them improve, and they’re doing it so far. We’re happy about that. We hope now that some of the kids in Spain will want to play the next under 23 tournament and we can keep going from here.”
Sean Colfer talks to the Austrian Open Coach, Michael Zellinger about the team’s history leading up to London 2015
To say that Austria have exceeded expectations in this tournament would be incongruous with their results in recent seasons.
Their team defeated Great Britain in power pools in Toronto 2013 before GB’s victory in the later replay left them seventh. Their senior team finished 14th at London Calling in 2014. That finish masks how well they did – some of the best club and national teams in Europe, including Clapham, Viksjöfors, two French Open teams and Bad Skid, were also at that tournament.
Sean Colfer reports on yesterday’s power pool matchup in the Open Division
Austria came into this match on a high after their their live-streamed victory over Great Britain on the show pitch – yet another statement of intent after topping their pool (despite an unexpected loss to Belgium). A win would continue their unbeaten run through power pools, and guarantee a top two place ahead of their matchup with the United States on Thursday morning.
Colombia had different concerns. They were chasing a victory to remain in contention for a quarter-final spot. They were winless in the power pool and needed to win here and against Australia, also winless in the power pool, to stand a chance.
Josh Coxon Kelly looks at the Irish Open Squad’s start to the Under 23 Championships
Featured image courtesy of Andy Moss from Ultiphotos.com
With a landmark 11-9 victory against Australia and a decisive 17-11 win over Belgium, the championships couldn’t have started much better for the Irish Open squad. With the disc moving between hands constantly, the team was playing with enviable flow by the end of their second game, as a crisp upwind flick huck was caught in stride to end the game and the first day’s work in style. “That’s orgasmic” mutters a sideline observer. Granted, it was actually one of the Irish players who said this, but these boys can be forgiven for feeling a little proud about their achievements, even at this early stage.
After a disappointing performance at the 2013 U23 World Championships in Toronto (placing 14th), Head Coach Leo Yoshida has been able to bring back around half of the squad for another go at the world’s best young players. Players and coach alike have been hungry to prove that they could improve on their first outing, and the low player turnover has been a key factor in bringing together a squad to break out of the lower rankings and into the top eight.
Yoshida brings his experience as a player and coach from the Vancouver Ultimate scene, where he was a part of the University of British Columbia team benefitting from close ties with local Furious George players amongst others. This knowledge and experience helped organise a spike in Irish enthusiasm that came out of a tense rivalry between Cork and Trinity College teams in 2008/9. Now having had adequate training time to bring cohesion out of these rivalries, this team enjoys a fluency between Cork, Dublin and Limerick players. Assistant coach Niall Harbourne proudly describes the team as “a real all – Ireland team”.