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Ultimate frisbee spreads its appeal beyond capital

Chan Sreyda from Cambodian team Swa defends at the Zone Cup. Indrabott Romnea
Chan Sreyda from Cambodian team Swa defends at the Zone Cup. Indrabott Romnea

Ultimate frisbee spreads its appeal beyond capital

The secretary of the Cambodian Flying Disc Association, Flo Zwiers, yesterday hailed the expansion of the fast-growing sport outside its Phnom Penh stronghold after the Kingdom’s ultimate frisbee organisation took two Kampot-based players to last weekend’s Zone Cup in Ho Chi Minh City.

Zwiers, a 30-year-old Dutchman, told The Post: “The sport is quickly expanding in Cambodia, as evidenced by the 15 new players from the Kingdom who joined the Zone Cup. We are especially pleased with our two debutants from Kampot province show that the sport is developing outside the capital too.”

The Zone Cup final was contested between Davao United from the Philippines and Australian team Ellipsis, who gained fame in 2015 for being the first non-North American ultimate team to win the US Open competition.

The annual Zone Cup, which was won by the Australians under the captaincy of Cath Phillips, came two weeks after the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) and the Australian Flying Disc Association pledged a grant to further develop the sport among women in Cambodia.

The money will be accompanied by support from WFDF’s women’s commission and Australian team Bauhaus, captained by Cath Phillips’s sister Michelle.

All this will help sustain the momentum of growth, according to Zwiers. “We are hoping to expand our membership, especially among women, who are still underrepresented,” he said.

“The advice and support from the women of Bauhaus is very helpful as they have much more experience running women’s ultimate. We’re also hoping we can get some experienced women over to provide training as well as serve as role models.”

While the two Cambodian teams, Phnom Penh-based Swa Ultimate and the composite Kruut Chkout team, struggled with the fierce competition in Vietnam, their rosters reflected a young and growing talent pool.

“I am proud of my team as half of the players had never played in an international tournament or even been abroad before,” said Sovannareach Yoeun, the captain of Swa Ultimate.

“Ultimate gives young people the opportunity to see the world,” he continued. “Some of our players only knew about Vietnam from the media, which doesn’t always portray the country in the best light. But now they got to meet and play against Vietnamese people and see what a great hosts they are.”

Team Kruut Chkout featured the two female players from Kampot province, who were able to attend the tournament due to sponsorship by their employer, Ha Tien Vegas casino, and ultimate frisbee apparel company Zone, who sponsor the cup and supply items of kit.

“I like ultimate as it is good exercise,” said Vita, one of the Kampot players. Her friend Srey Am added: “Ultimate gives you good health but also gets you in good physical shape.”

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