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All-Cambodian Swa to debut in Vietnam Zone Cup

A Swa player catches the disc in a showcase game as part of a fundraising event on June 12.
A Swa player catches the disc in a showcase game as part of a fundraising event on June 12. LANIE HONDA

All-Cambodian Swa to debut in Vietnam Zone Cup

The Kingdom is for the first time sending an all-Cambodian Ultimate Frisbee team to Vietnam this weekend to take part in the international Zone Cup in Ho Chi Minh City.

With $3,000 in prize money up for grabs, some of Asia’s best teams will be throwing the disc in this year’s edition.

Swa, a team of Phnom Penh-based players, was founded in 2013 by Rodwell Kov, a Khmer-American who started a Youth Ultimate Project in the capital stemming from the original YUP in Seattle, which itself was founded in 2011 for the development of the sport in Cambodia.

“They are amazing players, definitely new to the sport, but working very hard.

This tournament will be the experience that will change their Ultimate Frisbee life because of the amazing players that they will meet, connect with and play against.

They have been training hard, not only individually, but as a team,” Rodwell said.

Swa made their international debut in last year’s Mekong Cup, an annual tournament consisting of teams from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, which was held in Phnom Penh.

Vietnam are the hosts for September’s edition.

Ultimate frisbee in Cambodia dates back to 2008 with the founding of the Phnom Penh Ultimate Association, which arranges the sport in the Kingdom.

In 2009 it had its first tournament, and its major event, the Big Phat Phnom Penh Hat (so called because players of similar ability are drawn from a hat to ensure balanced teams), has been held six times, with last year’s edition attracting players from 21 nationalities.

The next Big Phat Hat is scheduled for early next year.

Ultimate Frisbee is played with seven players a side on a 100 metre by 37 metre field (approximately a football pitch in length and half the width) with an 18 metre “end zone” at each end.

Similar to American football and rugby, the objective is to pass the disc so a player gets into the end zone to score a point.

Although the team will undoubtedly be underdogs in Ho Chi Minh, Rodwell is certain Swa’s preparation could not have been better.

“I haven’t seen so much leadership, commitment and determination from a team like this. They have grown so much the last two years,” he said.

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