Mention the word frisbee and images of beaches and border collies spring to mind, but playing with the disc usually associated with casual beach and backyard fun has been recognised as an Olympic sport and has a dynamic team in East London.
East London Ultimate Frisbee (ELUF) meets twice a week at the Hams Club, where members don their cleats (soccer shoes) and play games which last 100 minutes each and require a very good level of fitness.
The non-contact sport, which is self-refereed, is played in 90 countries, with South Africa ranking 32nd, and is played between two teams of seven players each.
Women’s team coach Nicole McComb, 24, said the game was still relatively unknown by the wider public.
“Everyone thinks it’s something I play with my dog, but I tell them it’s a real team sport and that players sprint up to 10km per game!”
She started playing as a student at Stellenbosch University.
McComb became so proficient at the sport, which is a mix of netball, basketball, American football and soccer, that she became the captain of the Maties team and represented South Africa at the Ultimate Frisbee World Championships in London in 2015.
“I played internationally but there was no green blazer because South Africa does not yet recognise ultimate frisbee as a national sport.”
In order for this to change, the East London club, which currently has about 20 male and 10 female members, will be hosting the first Eastern Cape regional tournament next Saturday and Sunday at Hams Club.
“We will be playing against the Wild Coast and Port Elizabeth teams and are hoping to make this an annual fixture. We need more formal tournaments in order for South Africa to recognise it as a national sport.”
Club members meet every Monday and Wednesday from 5.30pm to 7pm.
McComb can be contacted on 073-775-6089.