Back in February, we shared that former Seattle Rainmaker Matty Zemel was named coach for the Team India Open, India’s first open team to compete at the WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championship this coming June.
While the team trains hard for their debut at WUGC in just a few weeks, they have hit a financial roadblock, as one of their potential corporate sponsors has had to back out, leaving them short of the funds necessary to reach London.
The team, known as “The Pride”, is made up of 23 players from cities all over the country from different walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds: there are high-flying management consultants and low-income handymen, engineering college seniors and school dropouts who are part-time sports coaches making ends meet for their families. While these men may otherwise never have come together, it was their passion and love for ultimate that has made them a team.
“Team India’s trip to Worlds represents the unifying power of sport: bringing together 23 talented ultimate players from disparate backgrounds, working together towards an improbable goal, bridging gaps of class, culture and language.” said Manix Narayanan, the Executive Director of India’s Ultimate Players Association.
While only a few years old, ultimate has become a powerful movement in India, encouraging young people to come together for a common purpose, regardless of their history. Last year, the story of Indian ultimate was shared worldwide via the short film 175 Grams, a winner of the 2015 Sundance Institute Short Film Challenge. Ganesan Moorthi, member of The Pride was featured promiently in the film, discussing the positive impact that ultimate has had on his life and his community. Moorthi stood out for his performance at 2015’s World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Dubai, UAE:
“Few Indians have played ultimate outside of India, which makes international exposure the most important aspect of this campaign” said Zemel. “Aside from us bringing together players from different cultures, languages, and socio-economic backgrounds, exposing the team to a different country’s value systems and showing the social impact frisbee can have in India.”
Coaching along with Zemel is fellow former Rainmaker Matt Sewell, as well as Ashwini Chidambaram, the first female coach at the national level in India.
“Ashwini is a female coach in charge of an all male all-star team, something unheard of in India.” noted Zemel, “Men and women playing a sport together in India, that is something. A woman in charge? That is something else.”
With your help, we can send The Pride to London for WUGC 2016 and help them spread India’s unique culture to the ultimate community worldwide. With competition beginning on June 18, time is of the essence, so please consider donating to Team India.
“People in the US just can’t imagine that a developing frisbee nation could have such talented players. It’s time to open their minds.” said Coach Zemel.