“I have always been interested in sports. During school days I use to spend most of my time playing and quite often got into trouble at home for it. During my engineering at RV college, I was part of the cricket team. I missed sports a lot once I started working with Hindustan Motors. So I started to play football competitively. I also ran many marathons during the late 2000’s all over India.
Sometime in 2012, I was introduced to Ultimate frisbee through a childhood friend. It was the first time I held the disc. After a few casual sessions, I realized this new sport was very exciting. Six months into it, my friends and I formed our club team ‘Airbenders’ and played our first tournament in Bengaluru in 2013. I captained the team for 2 years. We have a wonderful time, simply because we were a bunch of people who want to go out and play.”
How do you think Ultimate frisbee stands out as a sport?
“One of the aspects I really love about Ultimate is that it is a mixed gender sport. It is nice to see a sport going beyond gender, social or economic bias and it brings people together. In Ultimate, spirit of the game is held high and we give first priority to it. India has gone global in ultimate too. Most teams that have represented India internationally have been recognised as being some of the most spirited teams in the world. Outside the field, we are all friends, we get together to discuss game pros and cons like buddies. We exchange jerseys with players from other teams/countries. I have a few international jerseys myself. This kind of bond is tough to see in any other sport.”
Ultimate frisbee as a sport in India?
“I have played this sport for 4 years and it’s growing. UPAI (Ultimate Players Association of India) is promoting ultimate frisbee from the grassroot level by introducing it in schools & colleges all over India. It takes a lot to put together a team to represent the country and to play the sport at an international level because Govt. of India is yet to recognise the sport. We pitch in funds to play international tournaments and look out for sponsors. I look forward to the day when Ultimate is an everyday sport in India, may be 4 to 5 years down the lane.”
“I captained Airbenders and I have captained the Indian Team twice. I enjoy leading a team. It is quite a different feeling when you are captaining an Indian team, be it in any sport. Seeing our national flag, it gives you goosebumps. Ultimate has given me things than no other sport could. It has given me great experiences, innumerable friends and taught me to play with good spirit. There are high chances that Ultimate will be in the 2028 Olympics and during that time I see a strong representation for India. And I will definitely cheer with pride. I am Vijay Rao”