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Frisbee Gains Popularity in India

Frisbee Gains Popularity in India

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Published by تابش پنڈت

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Published by: تابش پنڈت on Jun 26, 2012
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Frisbee gains popularity in India
The Frisbee is not native to India. It does not engender the obsession of cricket or beckon theroaring fans of soccer. It is not steeped in the culture like kabaddi or popularized in socialclubs like squash.But the ubiquitous disc of childhood is making waves in India in the sport of Ultimate. Withat least 30 teams nationwide, India is following in the footsteps of the United States, Europeand Japan in taking the disc past picnics and college to teams like the American UltimateDisc League, which hosts sponsored teams of players beyond the college level.This summer, hundreds of players will travel to the Bangalore Ultimate Open for the largesttournament ever held in India. Teams like Delhi's Stray Dogs in Sweaters and Auroville'sSpinergy will field men and women players at the Kanteerava Stadium during the firstweekend of July.And the sport's reach is not limited to the field. Ultimate has taken its first steps intomainstream Indian pop culture, most recently in the Telugu-language film "Love Failure,"where the lead character, played by the actor Siddharth, chooses Ultimate practice over aphone call with his girlfriend."It has finally become sustainable," said Manu Karan, head of Chennai Ultimate, the biggestclub in India, which oversees nine independent teams.Mr. Karan is widely credited with popularizing Ultimate in India. After living in the UnitedStates for five years and playing Ultimate with a University of Colorado team, he started toteach the game to his peers when he returned in 2007.Mr. Karan heard of two groups in India who had picked up the sport - a few expatriateplayers in Delhi and members of Indicorps, a development-centered service program inAhmedabad (full disclosure: I was an Indicorps fellow in 2010). The teams met and had theirfirst official tournament in November 2007.Five years later, there are at least 500 players across India, not counting the schools and
 
communities that have recently adopted the sport. The Chennai club itself has over 240people on nine teams that often practice on the beach in the coastal city. And the KodaikanalInternational School has become a hub for hosting and participating in tournaments."There are a lot more people than there were two years ago, but we still have a long way togo," said P.N. Raju, a sports management professional who played for Hyderabad's team,Dishquiya.While the culture of Ultimate in India has been close-knit and casual, there is frictionbetween the Flying Disc Federation of India, the official governing body of the sport, andmany of the established Ultimate teams.Mr. Raju said the federation had little understanding of the Ultimate game or how to developthe sport. He and several team captains including Mr. Karan have teamed up to create analternative organization, the Ultimate Players Association of India.An official from the federation dismissed the criticism. "We are already working with thegovernment. We don't need another group," said J.K. Khodadhra, vice president of the FlyingDisc Federation of India.Mr. Khodadhra said there are basic reasons the sport has become increasingly attractive toyoung people in India. The game requires little equipment and can be played at little cost, andthe skills are easy to learn but challenging to master. Ultimate is also played without referees,so players are asked to admit their own fouls or errors.And despite disagreement between organizing groups, Ultimate is known to be a game thatpromotes conflict resolution. The core component, called "Spirit of the Game," guides thecentral idea of Ultimate: that it should be played with respect, good humor and propersportsmanship. Teams are rewarded at tournaments for good "spirit" just as they are for goals.Chandrachud Basavaraj, who has played in Mumbai and Bangalore, said he and his friendsapproached a team in Mumbai to learn the game after reading about the team on the BrownPaper Bag blog."It's physically demanding, but you also have to be patient, calm and smart with the game,"

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