“What’s the journey like to Worlds?” We were pretty sure everyone like us, was just dying to know. Our undying curiousity led to a series of interviews with the Singapore represents. Part 2 of our series brings us face to face with Alexander Lim, who will be lining up for our Singapore National Master’s Team for theWorlds Ultimate & Guts Championship (WUGC) 2016. in London.
This will be Singapore’s first foray into the Masters division at Worlds , as they look forward to making a big impact on the international stage. The squad is made up of 23 dedicated and passionate players with a wealth of experience. We got the chance to talk to Masters representative Alexander Lim, or Alex as he is more affectionately known as. A familiar and experienced face in the Singapore Ultimate community, Alex finds himself placed in the unusual position of being one of the younger players in the squad. He talks us through his experience and journey so far as he prepares for his maiden Masters tournament…
1) Hi Alex, Congratulations on winning Second Runner Up at the recent Bali Opens over the Easter weekend! We also heard that you and the Masters team are heading up to Worlds (WUGC 2016) in June this year! It all sounds very exciting, could you share with us what you have been up to lately?
It’s been really busy lately for me. I’ve had to juggle worlds training and club training alongisde coaching. Additionally, besides Bali Open, I just got back from the Boracay Open and Grizzly Open in Malaysia earlier this April. With training, coaching and tournaments, I basically eat, live and breathe Ultimate.
2) Is this the first time Singapore will be sending a Masters Team to Worlds?
Yup! I am super excited and honoured to be part of the first ever Masters team that Singapore is sending to Worlds.
3) How did you guys come together? Do share with us more about the members in the team, who are they and where are they from.
It started from a couple of older and more experienced players in the community. They threw out the idea of sending a Masters team for this year’s worlds. After making contact with other eligible (older) players, we soon had enough interest to form a team! It was pretty impressive how we got everyone together.
The team is very diverse, with our youngest player at 33 years old and our oldest at almost 60! Our team is made up of players from all the different clubs and backgrounds, with a few who have not played club ultimate before. I’ve played on a lot of teams over the years, and this is probably the most eclectic team I’ve ever been a part of. In many ways, it makes the experience very fun and interesting.
4) With such a mix of players and a wealth of playing experience, could you give us a small insight on the strength(s) of the team? What kind of playing style can we expect to see on display at Worlds?
Considering our diverse group of players, I don’t think we have any one strength in particular, though our diversity helps to negate some of our weaknesses. For every newer and less experienced player, we have another with many years of playing experience. For every slightly older and slower player, we have a younger, speedier player to complement him.
Our strength would be most visibly displayed if we develop the chemistry well to work together as a team. By having each and every one of us perform our role to create a cohesive team structure, our Masters team would be able to flow the disc down well.
In terms of playing style, speaking from a personal experience, our diversity is what makes the entire experience so exciting. Our team’s playing style can simply change just based upon who we have on the line and the roles we are instructed to perform. We can go from a stable thrower based line to a fast atheletic line just by switching out a couple of players. I’m sure this will create a dynamic match up for our opponents. At the same time, our challenge at worlds would be to match up the right line mix to the various team we go up against.
5) How has the preparation and training been so far?
Getting the team to train together has been one of our biggest hurdles. Our schedules are busy and varied, with many of us committed to different club training times. Nonethless, we do our best to meet up to get some playing action together. We currently have 3 training slots – a Monday night training session, a Tuesday track session and a Saturday morning training session. During our sessions, we have been primarily focused on establishing a baseline commonality in the structures that we plan to bring to worlds, to get everyone on the same page.
6) What are your goals and targets for Worlds?
As this is our first time sending a Masters teams to Worlds, we do not have any specific targets in mind. This team is more a proof of concept that Singapore is able to compete in the Masters division at Worlds. Though, it will definitely be nice to hold seed and beat some of the other newer Masters teams too.
Personally, my goal is to open up the doors here for Masters division here in Singapore. You might get older, but the competitive spirit of an Ultimate player never truly fades. You tend to suppress it, as realistically your body starts to not be able to handle as much physical stress as before, and as a result you might find yourself not being able to perform as competitively as you used to. However, given the right opportunities, there is so much the older generation of players can offer Singapore Ultimate. I hope to represent Singapore in the Masters division for many years to come. Hopefully our first batch helps to pave the way for the other Ultimate players reaching our age, and create new opportunities for them.
7) Are you looking forward to meeting or playing with any special team/player?
I have been to worlds a couple of times, so I guess I have pretty much gotten all the “fan-boying” out of my system. This year I am really looking forward to playing with my team. I’ve known some of these guys for years, but have never gotten the chance to play on the same team, so I am rather excited about being able to at Worlds.
This is really an opportunity that some of the “pioneers” of Singapore to come together as a team and hopefully place Singapore Masters on the world map.
8) Is there any way the rest of the SG Ultimate community can help or show their support to the Masters team?
I am accepting donations! Please call 1-800-ALEXANDERLIM.
But in all seriousness, I think words of encouragement can and will go a long way. Every player going to Worlds has made some sort of a sacrifice to do so, whether in terms of time, physical and financial commitment. It is not an easy journey, so rallying behind them and acknowledging their sacrifices would really spur them on to do their best for Singapore and the program.
As a community, we ought to exalt the position of the National team. Our entire community of clubs and players should always prioritize the Singapore brand over their own club or personal brand equity. WUGC 2016 gives us just the opportunity to band together as an entire nation to support our represents.
When our Singapore teams head up to Worlds, they are doing so in representation of every Ultimate player back at home. Their success at worlds is very beneficial to the entire Singapore Ultimate community. I also believe that the players heading up to Worlds have the responsibility to repay our community’s support by taking all the lessons learned from Worlds and distilling it back to the Singapore Ultimate community as a whole.
9) What are you most excited about for Worlds?
Like I mentioned, I’m probably most excited about putting Singapore on the world ultimate map. Usually, only countries with a more matured ultimate program can send in a Masters team. I think that is testament to what we have been doing here in Singapore Ultimate. It’s a great privilege to be part of this team and to represent both Singapore and our ultimate community.
Additionally, I really look forward to matching up with the best Masters players from all over the world. I’ve always been known as a fairly quick guy, and am probably one of the quicker ultimate players over 30 in Singapore. It will really be interesting to see what that means and where I stand at the world level. It would be cool to burn some of the uncles from the other teams, so we’ll just have to see how that goes.
10) Any advice for Singapore Ultimate players who are looking to go to Worlds in future?
First up, you should definitely do it!
Worlds is a really amazing experience and it really broadens your horizons both as a player as well as what it means to be part of the ultimate community. Unfortunately, at least for now, going to Worlds also requires a significant financial investment. So if you are really serious about going to Worlds, I would advise you to be very deliberate about your financial planning for the event.
Finally I would strongly recommend on being as open minded as possible going into worlds. You’ll be playing against a whole bunch of new teams, in a country that’s not Singapore, with a team that may or may not be comprised of players you normally play with back home. All of this requires a fair degree of open mindedness and a willingness to adjust and do things / play in roles that you may not be used to. That is the whole beauty of it – experiencing ultimate in a whole different way and hopefully learning and becoming a better ultimate player because of it.
We wish all the best to our Singapore Masters Team for WUGC 2016! #teamsingapore #singaporepride
Stay tuned to the next interview of our WUGC 2016 Series. Read more interviews here.
Meanwhile, check out the final standings & photo coverage of GenderMah! 2016:
- Final Standings of GenderMah! 2016
- Gendermah Opens, Womens Division & Practice by Erwin Soo
- Gendermah 2016 by Terry Tan Lee Ban
- Gendermah 2016 by Kenneth Elijah Yau
PS: Thirsty Camels would like to thank and give all photo credits to the dedicated Ultimate photographers of the local scene. Also, big thanks to UPA(S) for once again pulling off yet another great tournament for us. Cheers!