중앙데일리

The ultimate sport takes flight in Korean skies

Apr 16,2007
HuWa teammates from Shanghai, in white jerseys, and Choi Ji-hoon, of the Korean team Paran, leap for the Frisbee in last year’s Jeju-do International Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. Provided by Korea Ultimate Players Association
Chasing a hovering plastic disc back and forth around a field has not yet become a popular pastime in Korea, perhaps because of the conspicuous lack of open, field-like spaces.
As such, an enthusiast would be hard-pressed to find a Frisbee for sale on the peninsula. In the West, however, they are ubiquitous staples in parks and on beaches.
Playing Frisbee could even be described as a cultural phenomenon, complete with a set of shaggy, laid-back stereotypes describing those who love it.
But despite the cliches, since the 1960s groups of avid Frisbee fans have honed the usually relaxed activity into a professional sport, complete with its own international organization, the Ultimate Players Association. And yes, there is even a Korean branch.
On April 28 and 29 on Jeju Island, the Korea Ultimate Players Association and the Jeju government will host the Third Annual Jeju-do International Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.
This is no small local event either; teams and players from China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States, Canada and Scotland will all be taking part. Korea will also be well represented, with participants coming from Seoul, Daejeon, Busan, Ulsan, Jeju, Mokpo, Jinju, Yeosu and Changwon.
Ultimate Frisbee is like a tackle-less form of American football, with teams competing to pass the disc to their player in the end zone of the opposite side.
Players must not run while holding the disc, giving rise to an impressive range of hook shots, pivots and catching competitions that give the sport its addictive quality.
The uninitiated would be well advised to take a trip down to Jeju next weekend to catch a glimpse of the rapidly growing sport, if not for the ultimate itself, then for the range of activities that will be running alongside the tournament.
An ultimate clinic will spread the skills of the sport to newcomers, and a scavenger hunt and the obligatory all-you-can-drink Saturday night party will round out the festivities.
Get all the details at http://koreaultimate.net/jeju.


By Richard Scott-Ashe Contributing Writer[richard@joongang.co.kr]


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