This Chennai team wins the Beach Ultimate tournament. Vipasha Sinha meets the champions

Elliots beach seemed less crowded last weekend. A stroll showed why. The Chennai Heat 2013, India’s only Beach Ultimate tournament in its 6th year, had the crowd gathered at four fields where 320 players from 22 teams battled it out for the trophy and it was a team from Chennai, Airborne, that emerged victorious. Ultimate, a flying disc sport played in a group has become extremely popular and the excitement at the beach bore testimony to that. The organisers say that it is the biggest Summer Heat so far.

Airborne fielded two teams playing in the tournament and one of them won the trophy. The members of the team said the victory was long due.

“Our team has been performing really well for the past season. We came seventh in the last edition of Chennai Heat, we ended up in the fifth place at a tournament in Ahmedabad and seventh in Bengaluru.

It was the first time we reached the semi-final and went on to win the tournament,” says Nishant Radhakrishnan, who started the team along with Vinay Seshadri in 2011.

What makes Airborne different from others is its philosophy to accommodate people of various stripes.

“From school kids to college students and from working professionals to expats, the team has them all. Among them are a bunch of teenagers from Urur Kuppam, who form the heart of Airborne. Hailing from less privileged homes, where parents work very hard to send their children to college and school, these teenagers are dedicated in their pursuit of ultimate,” says Nishant Radhakrishnan.

Three favourable factors

“We had a perfect balance between experienced players and youngsters. We had some players who did extremely well during Agni Nakshatra – a Summer Camp that Chennai Ultimate Frisbee (CUF) group conducts every summer. Secondly, two senior players, Manu Karan (founder of Chennai Ultimate Frisbee) and Jaidip Patel (founder of Ahmedabad Ultimate) recently moved to our team and have groomed the rest of us into better athletes and skilled players.

The Chennai Heat was a marvellous experience and we will remember it for many days to come. Also, thanks to Deepthi Indukuri, our photographer, for taking some amazing pictures of the team,” says Nishant.

Since they travel to other cities for tournaments, they are looking for sponsorships that would also help them grow as Ultimate Frisbee club in Chennai.

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