Aria Soweto Inter-Schools Tournament 2018

by Baden (Rangers) and Ellie (Skyveld)

In late 2017 the GFDA entered into a social partnership with Aria Ultimate, as a beneficiary of its “buy 1 donate 1” disc program.  We received our first box of discs earlier this year, and were eager to get them into the hands of children in our Soweto Schools program.  One of our biggest limitations in expanding the program has been a #discdrought.  It is difficult and expensive getting Ultimate discs into South Africa, and there never seem to be enough – we had some donated discs which our coaches (Chief, Pule and Zwele) would bring from school to school, meaning that the children didn’t have their own discs or the ability to play outside of organized sessions.

With this new partnership we hope to continue our efforts to grow Ultimate in Soweto, with our goal being to give the children more game time !

On Wednesday, 21st of March, the GFDA, along with volunteers from Skyveld, Disks of Hazard, Rangers and Dream Ultimate, celebrated Human Rights Day by hosting the Aria Soweto Inter-Schools Tournament at Jabulani Technical High School in Soweto.

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The day was a huge success, with a total of 62 learners, 22 from Hitekani Primary, 25 Students from Elsie Ngidi Primary and 15 students from Isiseko Primary. The schools where further split to form smaller teams of 6 to 7 players per team for this 5v5 tournament. The tournament followed a round robin format with each team playing every other team once, for short highly competitive 20 minute games.

The children astounded us with their amazing skills – below the volunteers “WOW Ultimate Moments” :

Ellie: The Isiseko ladies played with a seriously brilliant hex flow, never giving up and dominating.  On another field I saw a full field chicken wing pull and numerous scubas!

Justus, Fergus and Vincent: We saw two Hitikani boys successfully execute the worlds greatest in one game! That was pretty epic!

Jennifer: I saw one boy, with determination and passion catch a high speed pass in the end zone for the score!

Sipho: I saw a defensive layout which was pretty special. However top of my list was watching the smallest and youngest kid (7 years old) on the field scoring twice against the big kids!

Zwele: I was glad to see how strong the lady players were out-performing the boys on the field.

Sanele: These students passes were so fluent and their forehand passes very impressive!

Peter: I was amazed how the students constantly demonstrated a thorough skill and know-how for ultimate and just played it out! The future of SA Ultimate is looking bright.

Baden: I saw a lady cut cross field and one-hand-grad catch the disc from a serious up-field-bullet pass!

In the end, Hetikani 1 took first place, Elsie Ngidi 1 took second and Isiseko 1 took third.  Congratulations to all children who participated !

With Aria Ultimate’s generous donation of discs, each child was able to take home their very own disc, allowing them to practice and play, and introduce Ultimate love in their communities !

Another massive highlight of the day was the presence of Mr Bheki Nxumalo – District Head of Johannesburg Education and Sport who joined us for the day and is now a passionate Ultimate fan, having already attended some of our tournaments in the past.

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Thank you to our coaches Chief, Pule, and Zwele for continuing to spread the love of Ultimate in Soweto and for being such good role models for the children.  Thank you to Aria Ultimate for donating discs and believing in the Soweto Schools Program.  Thank you to the GFDA for sponsoring fruit and drinking water, and bringing along shade for the children.  Thank you to ICR for delivering the discs all the way to us in South Africa.

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The day would not have been possible if not for our amazing volunteers: Thank you for your amazing gift of time and service.

  • From Skyveld: Ellie Tournier, Fergus Klein, Justus Immelman, Deogratius Amaro, Lindelo Nzuza, Sipho Mhlambi, Peter Jessop
  • From Disks of Hazard: Jennifer De Beer, Edna Stander and Vincent Good
  • From Dream: Sanele Mazimela
  • From Rangers: Baden Dowie
  • And from back in the day Ultitude: Thokosani Dlamini

What’s next for Soweto Schools Ultimate ?  The GFDA will be launching a Friday Ultimate training session for the duration of Term 2 to provide consistency and structure for the children, as well as a healthy and fun activity.  If you’d like to get involved, reach out to GautengUltimate@gmail.com .

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