Ashoka University's own Ultimate frisbee tournament is back again! On the 1st and 2nd of April (Saturday and Sunday), 11 teams from across North India, along with two Ashokan teams, will congregate on Ashoka’s campus to compete for the 2nd edition of the Ashoka Ultimate Championship.
The teams that are participating are coming from Ahmedabad, Delhi, Lucknow and Patna, and all the teams will undoubtedly bring their best players to play for the championship. Abhayghat Fire, the talented team from Ahmedabad that won AUC’16, is back to try and defend their title.
They will contend with other experienced teams, such as Delhi-based GK Mad and UnderDogs, the Udaipur Flying Foxes along with the Ashoka Hammerheads.
AUC ’17 marks the beginning of a new chapter in India's ultimate frisbee scene; AUC will be the first ever tournament of the UPAI (Ultimate Players Association of India) Regional Challenger Series. The series of tournaments will encourage high-quality competition and emphasise on learning for teams that do not compete at a high level or find it difficult to travel to national tournaments far from their homes.
The goal of the UPAI is to develop local and regional teams. For instance, there are 7 teams in the National Capital Region competing at AUC '17. The set of tournaments, cheekily named "Why So Series", taking a dig at the National Tour, is expected to be hosted by Hyderabad, Pune, Ranchi, Lucknow, Kolkata and Mysore so far.
The UPAI is also considering a proposal to assess high performing teams in the Challenger Series and offer automatic bids to compete in the National Tour.
A number of star player/mentors will be present at AUC, including some who have played for India. Suhani Bedi, for instance, has played for the Indian U23 team in the World Ultimate and Guts Championship (WUGC), as well as the Indian team in the World Championships of Beach Ultimate. She will be part of the St. Stephen’s Hawabaaz team. She’s a well-known coach in the Delhi Ultimate community, and on the field, her explosive pace as a cutter makes her almost impossible to mark.
Abhishek Srinivas, affectionately called Cisa, played for the Indian Open Team at WUGC 2016 and will be the playing mentor for Ashoka’s second team. He’s part of one of the elite Indian teams, called Learning2Fly, and he’s known for being an effective deep-cutter who always gets the end-zone grab.
Jaidip Patel, the former coach of Ashoka Hammerheads and a former President of the UPAI, will be playing as part of Abhayghat Fire. Jaidip was one of the people involved in the growth of Indian Ultimate, and the founder of 91 Ultimate, India’s only Ultimate gear store. This illustrious man has played for the Indian Masters team at WUGC, and is a true all-rounder on the field: capable of both controlling the game as a handler, as well as finishing as an effective cutter.
AUC ’17 looks set to be a great tournament, one in which teams of similar calibre will give their all to claim the trophy. AUC’16, with 8 teams, was a success in itself, and AUC’17 will look to build on that success and well and truly establish the tournament as an important one in not only the local circuit but the national one as well.