The previous post was an in-depth look at the whole tournament, but here are a few storylines from Royan that are worth pointing out.
Spirit is the Ultimate winner
The spirit scores all week were impressively high. The vast majority of teams scored 10 or above, and some scores were up in the mid- to high 12s. For a hotly contested international tournament, that’s pretty good. Special mention here to New Zealand, who entered two divisions (Mixed and Men) and won spirit in both.
India are making waves
While Russia Women toppling the USA is probably the story of the tournament, a very close second is India Mixed finishing a fabulous fifth place. India are still a very young Ultimate nation, so to finish as high as they did and beat established powers like Portugal and France is an outstanding achievement. Their two best players here, Siva Venkatesan and Praveen Kumar Muthu, would not look out of place in any top-level team. Siva, particularly, is an incredible athlete who won them some games almost single-handedly with amazing high grabs. With some other very talented players and a growing scene, India could be a nation ready to take a step forward very soon, much like Colombia have done in the past five years.
The USA: good at Frisbee
While America are still looking for that elusive clean sweep, one thing that they showed at this tournament was that their depth is still untouchable for most countries. They lost more games than expected here, yes – but that was still only three games (Sweden and Philippines Mixed, and the Women’s final against Russia) and all on universe point. The path to first place at the next WCBU, and indeed the first Beach World Games in 2019, will run through the players in stars and stripes.
The Beach World Games: what’s next?
The announcement was made recently that there will be a new event in 2019 – the Beach World Games. WFDF expects that Ultimate (or Flying Disc) will be included, but there are currently no more details. After such an outstanding week of action here in Royan, spectators in San Diego are surely in for a treat in a couple of years.
Running off without a hitch (pretty much)
Finally, the overwhelming feedback from players during the week was that the whole tournament was organised brilliantly. From the organising committee to the WFDF representatives to the volunteers who helped out every day – well done, and thanks! Thanks, too, to the players from every nation who made this tournament so special. Royan 2017 might be over, but the spirit of beach Ultimate is certainly not.
By Sean Colfer.