In focus Hyderabad Ultimate Frisbee team Dishqiya talk about their passion for the flying disc. Sohini Chakravorty listens in

What is common between Blitz Krieg, DisCreed, Dream Catchers, Stray Dogs in Sweaters and Dishqiya, apart from their all being quirky names? These are the names of the Ultimate Frisbee teams in India. There are probably only a handful of children who are not familiar with this sport. Whether it's a family picnic or a party on the beach, both children and adults enjoy tossing around a flying disc. The game, which came into existence only in the late 1960s, is taken quite seriously across the globe. If we go by the numbers of Ultimate Frisbee teams in India, we can see that it is a sport that is growing steadily in the country.

Dishqiya is a fairly new team. The name, the team players proudly explain, means “ishq with the disc”. Formed in 2011 with just two members, the team now has 30 regular players and over 100 guest players. Avi Yadav, founder of the Hyderabad Sports Club and one of the key players in Dishqiya, says, “I used to play basketball and when my friend came from UK, he introduced me to the game and we decided to start an Ultimate Frisbee team in Hyderabad.”

Recalling their first tournament, Arjun Menon says, “We played in Kodaikanal and there were just seven of us, so we had to play without any substitute.” They were given the Spirit of the Game award. The game is essentially a cross between rugby and American football and is a no-contact sport. The seven-member team has to score points by passing the disc in the opposing end zone. The players are not allowed to run with the disc and cannot hold on to the disc for more than 10 seconds. “There are no cheap fouls and no referees. It is the responsibility of the players for their fouls and line calls. The game is played in true sportsman spirit,” explains Akhil Ravi. In fact, some of the players appear playing Frisbee with Siddharth in his latest movie, Love Failure .

In India most of the frisbee teams have at least one female player. The ratio of male to female may be 5:2, 4:3 or 6:1 depending on the team. Manjari C., who has been playing for the past four years, rules out the idea of gender discrimination and says, “It is a kind of sport where you have to be a part of the core team and cannot be just on line. In many cases, it is the female players who bring in the key differentiating factor in the game.”

Jaidip Patel, who has played at the international tournaments, has come down from the UK in order to promote sportsmanship and solidarity. He is teaching students in schools and colleges to play Ultimate Frisbee. “People of all ages and sizes can play the game and it's easy to learn,” he says. The team practises on weekends at the Trimulgherry Football Grounds, Secunderabad, and follows a fitness drill throughout the week. “Speed, endurance and stamina are key factors to play the game,” explains Karthik. S, the captain of the team.

“Even though we play at the competitive level, it also gives us a huge opportunity to socialise and make new friends,” says Arjun. The Hyderabad Ultimate Frisbee page on Facebook keeps a detailed account of their activities.The team will next play at Fly Baba 2012, which is an all-India frisbee tournament held at Kodaikanal.

As Jaidip takes out his pen and pad and draws out a new strategy, the team huddles around for the instructions before they start their match. The disc soars high in the sky and the players get into action, oblivious to everything around them.