American import: Can Ultimate Frisbee take over China?

May 20, 2019

Photo credit: Katherine Li


Ultimate Frisbee has often been regarded as the "fastest growing sport" in the world and Hong Kong is no exception; in recent years, the sport has brought locals, expats, men and women together to create a new community within the city.


But for women's team co-captains Alicia Lui and Luisa Zhou, Ultimate has become something more: a symbol of progression for women's sports in Hong Kong.


"Getting women to play together is fairly new in this city," Lui said.



"This time, I think the women's team has grown a lot in terms of strategy, playing together and attracting more attention. But it's still quite a young sport."


However, this development did not take place overnight.


"The Hong Kong women's team started a few years ago. When we started to put the team together for the world championships in London in 2016, we started to gather the women in Hong Kong and started practicing," added Zhou. 


"Since then we actually competed in a few tournaments, and from there we evolved into a stable team."


Photo credit: Katherine Li 


According to the pair, bringing together diversity is the root of Ultimate and sports in general.


"People who play any sport are from different backgrounds and that's reflected in Ultimate. Our team is pretty diverse, we have people from all walks of life: teachers, business people, entrepreneurs." said Lui, also the founder of Women in Sports Empowered (WISE HK).


"As a team we're open-minded and welcoming." added Zhou. 


In the summer, they will lead one of the teams representing Hong Kong in the Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Championships, where months of training will be put to the test.


Planning for the tournament since January, the duo have set a variety of goals and expectations for their team.


Photo credit: Katherine Li


"We should treasure our time on the field, because it's a team sport and we want to create that connection between the players." Zhou said.


"Aside from the physical side, conditioning side, and playing and learning the strategy and the knowledge of the game itself, we also think it's important to train off the field, such as socials, in order to build that bond and chemistry."


As a result, training for the AOUGC is a monumental feat. More than prepared, Lui and Zhou are ready to take on both Shanghai and women's sports in Hong Kong.

"Because what I think is really important about women's sport, we want to create an environment that's fun and conducive for people to come back and be part of the team" Lui said.


"So it's really important for us to not only to emphasize the skills and training but also emphasize the camaraderie and friendships that we have - that's good training."



From July 23rd to 27th, Team Hong Kong will be competing in the WFDF 2019 Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Championships (AOUGC) in Shanghai. Participating in the AOUGC is Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Taiwan.



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