Get ready for a weekend on the beach as Chennai Heat 2013 begins today

Look up the Beach Ultimate Lovers Association (BULA) website, and you will find a tournament listing that goes Chennai Heat 2013, Elliots Beach, Besant Nagar. The premier Ultimate Flying Disc beach tournament in India, in its sixth edition and commencing today, is now a globally recognised event. That is not it. With an objective of getting an official entry into international tournaments, an Ultimate Players Association of India (UPAI) was formed recently.

Jaidip Patel, president of UPAI, who has been playing Ultimate for a decade says, “In India, the number of players has increased from 200 to over 1,000 in the last five years. Chennai has the maximum number of teams as it has been very active in popularising the sport. Our immediate plan is to grow and develop the sport.”

A notch up

For the first time, Chennai Ultimate Frisbee (CUF) club has partnered with Sports Insights, a Chennai-based sports technology company. Karthik Narayanan, tournament director, says, “We plan to make this sport more professional via Chennai Heat. Just like how it is done in cricket matches, our matches and team’s performances will be analysed by this company.” Sriram Somayajulu, founder and director of Sports Insight, informs, “A team of three will record the matches, and the players can watch their performance half-an-hour after their match gets over. This will help them analyse their game and plan strategies.”

Exhibition match

A new attraction of the forthcoming tournament is an exhibition match where four teams of underprivileged children will play against each other. These 60 teenagers have been given training by Pudiyador, an NGO that strives for the development of these children residing in the slums in and around Besant Nagar and Ramapuram. Chiai Uraguchi, programme director of Pudiyador, says, “Apart from the skills of the game, they have been taught the importance of sportsmanship.” Some children such as Arun Kumar and Abi from Urur Kuppam studying in Class X are part of CUF teams, and have played in outstation tournaments and interacted with players from other cities. Jaidip adds, “For the last few years, their respective teams have been funding the trip for the children. We plan to create a sponsorship programme for these children and encourage all of them.”

This year’s tournament features 23 teams from Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Kerala and Bangalore, apart from 10 teams from Chennai. CUF has also made arrangements for an ambulance with a medical team and a sports physiotherapist for the tournament.

Viji Saraswathi, tournament director says, “We want to make sure that players enjoy the game without injuries. So we have partnered with The Quad, a fitness centre, who will guide and assist the players with the necessary stretches and warm-up exercises before and after the matches.”

Last year there were 2,000 people watching the finals and they expect more this year.

Chennai Heat 2013 begins today and the finals will be played on October 6. For details, call 9176639537.

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