The victorious GB men's team
European Ultimate Championships 2007
The continent's top Ultimate teams were in action this weekend (4 August) as the European Ultimate Championships reached their climax - with the British teams in all of the seven class finals.
Spectators were treated to exciting end-to-end action and a clutch of British medals as the European Ultimate frisbee championships were held at Eastleigh's Wide Lane sports centre.
German fans cheer their team on
1300 athletes and hundreds more coaches, physios and other support staff took part in the championships - one of the main events in the sport's calendar.
Sixty three teams from 19 nations across the continent took part including Russia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Italy, France and Germany.
They were battling for medals in 7 divisions, all hoping to make the finals on Saturday August 4. The matches were played on 16 pitches at the University of Southampton Sports Ground at Wide Lane in Eastleigh.
Teams competed in Open, Women's, Mixed, Masters (over 32) and three Junior divisions.
As the week-long competition reached it's final stages, British fans were pinching themselves as the home team was represented in all seven finals.
The Junior, womens and open (mens) finals were all held in glorious Saturday with the men restoring British pride with a 15-14 win over Sweden after the women's team lost narrowly to Finland and the Juniors were beated 11-17 by Germany
GB's Sophie Watson (Photo: Tom Styles)
GB captain Simon Hills said: "We can't believe it - it was a brilliant game, it's always really close against Sweden - they're always the toughest team to play and today was no exception. We're just delighted.
"The noise level went right up in the end and that was great for us. It's been a good advert for the game in Europe I think. There's been some close games and some upsets and we're very proud as a British team to have a team in all the finals."
The organisers were hoping that the championships would be a great showcase for the fast-growing sport.
Tournament Director Andy Kayley said: "It's been absolutely fantastic. We've been really lucky with the weather and the matches have got more intense and more exciting as we went through the week."
"Its been very positive for the sport, we've had lots of non-players asking about it. A lot more people know about the sport now - they've said they have seen the efforts the teams put in, their passion and skill and they respect it as a sport."
Ultimate' is a seven-aside, mixed gender sport which was developed in 1968 by American students Jared Kass and Joel Silver.
It is played on a pitch slightly narrower than a football field. Teams move the disc between players until someone catches the disc in the 'end zone'.
At the highest level it is fast moving and needs high fitness levels but can also be played by a group in a park.
It is unique among team sports as there are no referees and all players abide by the 'Spirit of the Game'.
The term 'Frisbee' is actually rarely used in the sport as it is a trade-marked name for one type of disc.
Ultimate has been one of the fastest growing sports in the UK in recent years. Southampton has its own team, Ltd Release. The city's other team, the University-based Skunks, were formed in 1978.
Local schools have also been involved in the build-up to the European Ultimate Championships, holding special coaching sessions for pupils.
Hopefully local fans should have something to cheer about as Great Britain is one of Europe’s heavyweights in Ultimate. At the last European Ultimate Championships in 2003, held at Fontenay-Le-Comte, France, Team GB won three gold and two silver medals, appearing in all five finals.
last updated: 17/08/07