This past weekend the GFDA and the Gauteng Ultimate community celebrated a momentous occasion. We along with our enabling partners, Move-it Moving Matters and Total South Africa, celebrated the hosting of the first ever Ultimate Inter School GASP event in Soweto South Africa.
The day started with grade six learners from the 20 participating schools (Igugu Primary, Zola Primary, Sefika Primary, Moriting Primary, Usindiso Primary, Hitekani Primary, King Zwelithini Primary, Bafikile primary, Isu’lihle Primary, Enkanyezini Primary, Sefika Primary, Montshiwa Primary, Mambo Primary, Elsie Ngidi Primary, Tshilidzi Primary, Mara Primary, Ekhuphumeleleni Primary, Lekang Primary, Isiseko Primary, Vukazenzele Primary) marching onto the field with their school banners, singing their respective school songs. After the procession we sang our national anthem Nkosi sikelel iafrika and the day was officially declared open by playing the Olympic hymn and one of the learners reading the Olympic oath. This was done to celebrate Ultimate being recognised by the Olympic committee earlier this year.
We turned up the music and the teams, teachers, intern coaches and volunteers dispersed to start the first rounds of the pool games. It was an incredible experience for all involved to see how much the learners enjoyed playing Ultimate and we were amazed at how well everyone performed. And the learners were making their own calls and settling disputes quickly and with good spirit and games progressed smoothly.
People from the area dropped in and became curious spectators. Everyone was very interested and excited by this new sport that has made its way to Soweto. One of the most incredible moments was seeing an elderly gentleman sitting on a rock singing a long to Merriam Makeba watching the learners play with a huge smile on his face. It was an incredible privilege to see the impact that Ultimate has made on the Soweto community and the warm welcome and hospitality that we received while we were there.
After the quarter final and semi final matches it was time for our showcase game. All our top Gauteng Ultimate players took to the field and gave a demonstration of how we play ultimate. It was a great show of our athletic talent and there were some epic hucks, layouts and Ds. After the game all the players and volunteers formed a spirit circle to demonstrate how we end off games and our culture of togetherness and good spirit.
It was then finally time for the final to be played and it saw Hitekani Primary and Elsie Ngidi Primary compete for the win. Hitekani emerged victorious and claimed the top spot as winners of the first ever Ultimate Inter School GASP event, followed by Elsie Ngidi Primary in 2nd, Igugu Primary in 3rd and Isiseko Primary in 4th place.
The day was ended by Dr. Claire Nicholson from Move-it Moving Matters extending her thank you to our sponsors, Total South Africa, and to the Gauteng and South African Ultimate community for their participation in bringing this event into fruition.
From Gauteng Ultimate we would like to extend our thank you firstly to Joshua Murphy for creating the Flip it element bag and laying the ground work for our project. Dr. Claire Nicholson, Nicola, Ma Liz, Lara and Paul from Move- it we thank you for affording us this opportunity and supporting the vision for bringing Ultimate to Soweto (and hopefully we’ll be able to continue expanding to new regions within South Africa) Then a huge thank you to our executive committee members Sally Crompton, Keketso Motjuwadi, Joan Greeff and Justus Immelman, Ellie Tournier, Fergus Klein, Gomolemo Majabe, Che Makanjee and our lovely outreach officer Charlotte Jordaan.
This started as a dream next to the WITS field in April and we can be proud of how far we have come. Special thank you to TK Chinamatira (for always being ready to help and give his support and time. Thank you to Robin Willis and Jay Hart for overseeing the event and acting as mcs. And thank you to each and every person who played, volunteered, ran in scores, carried boxes and took photos. Without you none of this would have been possible and it was wonderful to have you all share in the day.
The biggest thank you goes to the twenty intern coaches from Move-it. Your dedication and enthusiasm to learn and teach Ultimate to the learners made an incredible impact and we look forward to much more Soweto Ultimate fun and growth within our Ultimate community.