What is Ultimate? Where are you going?

Recently at work I’ve had to explain where I’m going on holiday a few times – this made me realise that our website and the WUGC website are really aimed for those that are familiar with Ultimate.  This article is for those colleagues or associates of Firetails who don’t really know what Ultimate is or where we’re going or what we’re competing for.


What is Ultimate Frisbee?

It’s a seven-a-side team sport played on a rectangular grass field (100 x 37m). Players pass the frisbee amongst their team mates until they catch it in the endzone – which is a point. Games normally are played till one team reaches 15 points. A unique aspect of Ultimate is that it is self-refereed even at Worlds level – this means players are responsible for making their own calls if there has been a breach of the rules.

Check out this website for more detail: http://www.whatisultimate.com/what-is-ultimate/the-game/


Where are you going?

The World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC) happens every 4 years. In 2012 WUGC was in Japan, this year WUGC will be held in London, England. There are five divisions: Open (Men’s), Women’s, Mixed, Masters Men’s, Masters Women’s. Countries may only send one team in each division. Smaller countries might only send one team in say the mixed division. Countries with a larger player base will send a team in all five divisions.

How does the event work?

WUGC runs for a week from 18-25 June. Teams will generally play 2 games a day with a total of around 10 games across the whole event. Games are first to 15, or time-capped at 100 minutes. There are 26 countries competing in the Women’s division this year. The Firetails will start in a pool with 5 other teams (Colombia, Italy, Philippines, Russia & Spain), from there teams have the opportunity to progress to pre-quarters, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Our progress should be available on http://wugc2016.com/

Can I watch you play online?

There is a live stream but only two games per timeslot are shown. The streamlining scheduled hasn’t been released yet but keep an eye on http://wugc2016.com/ which should have details soon. The tournament schedule is now available at http://wugc2016.com/tournament-schedule

How does Australia rank in the Ultimate world?

The top countries in the world are USA, Canada and Japan – they consistently medal across all divisions. Behind them are Australia, Great Britain and Colombia, as well as a bunch of European countries. At the last two World Championships the Australian women’s team came 4th (2008) and 5th (2012).

So you’re playing on the Australian team? How did you get on it?

The selection process for the Australian women’s team (The Firetails) started in May 2015. There were 5 weekend selection camps between May – September starting with >100 athletes and ending up with the final team of 22.

A team of 22? I thought it was seven a-side?

In Ultimate you can have unlimited substitutions at the end of each point. Most teams going to WUGC will have 20+ players on their rosters. So players on average play 1 in 3 points – so if you’re watching any live coverage don’t expect to see the person you know on every point!

How long have people on the team been playing for?

The experience on the Firetails ranges from two or three years to twenty years. We have a few veterans who have competed at the international level since 2004 or earlier. There are a lot of people on the team who are competing at their first WUGC – though many have played at U19 or U23 World Championships.

Are you professional?

No, unfortunately we don’t get paid to play! It’s all self-funded.

When is Ultimate going be in the Olympics?

Ultimate was granted full IOC recognition in 2015, so there is potential for it to be included in the 2024 Olympics. Ultimate has been part of the World Games since 2001.