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Ultimate Frisbee causes a Storm

Cardiff Storm men's team at a tournament

Ultimate frisbee is  one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and Cardiff’s team, Storm, is contributing to its rise in Wales.

Still considered a niche sport,  Ultimate (it has dropped the ‘frisbee’ for trademark reasons) is gaining traction globally, with mounting efforts to make it an Olympic event. Cardiff is home to Storm, a team that encompasses the South Wales community. People come from as far as Swansea for practices.

Cardiff Storm men's team at a tournament

Cardiff Storm men’s team at a tournament (picture courtesy of Benjamin Alba)

Ultimate began life on university campuses in the US. Long seen as the preserve of hippies, its finally beginning to be taken seriously as a sport. Its rules are a mixture of various sports, but teams are mixed gender and it has no referees. This self-regulation is based upon fair play and the Spirit of the Game, which are the supporting pillars of the sport.

Storm was  started in the 00s, but declined due to low membership numbers. It has been revived in recent years by Benjamin Alba and Mike Walters, a fourth-year medical student and a software engineer respectively. This year, Storm took three teams to National Tours in Llanrumney, performing well in each category. However, Benjamin admits that, “In terms of numbers we really fluctuate and don’t have a core of commitment.”

Ultimate is a mixed gender sport

Ultimate is a mixed gender sport. Here, Team GB lines up to start a game point                                                                  (picture courtesy of Jo Lewis)

A solution to Storm’s membership problems may come via Cardiff University. A Division One team, the university’s team boasts world-class players. Jo Lewis, a Physiotherapy student, played for Team GB’s U23 side at the World Ultimate & Guts Championships in London. Jo finds that Ultimate appeals to her over other sports because of the self-regulating nature of the game.

Ultimate’s appeal is wide. It is open to anybody who wants to play, regardless of age or experience. It is a rigorous, full-body workout. For athletes like Jo and Benjamin, its appeal lies in learning the skills and dynamics of playing with a disc.

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