Colin Hanes of Comox is part of Canada’s open masters team (34+) that will be competing at the World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Royan, France.
He and 14 teammates from across the country are looking to improve upon Canada’s second-place result from two years ago in Dubai, UAE, where the national masters team lost in the gold medal game to the U.S.
“We have a pretty talented roster with a ton of international experience,” said Hanes, a ReMax Realtor who volunteers with Comox Fire Rescue.
Besides the U.S., he expects other contenders will include the Philippines, Great Britain, and a number of European countries.
Ultimate games do not involve referees, even at a competitive level. Instead, players deal with rule violations and disputes in a respectful manner, known as the Spirit of the Game.
“The self-officiating is a unique aspect of the game,” Hanes said. “We all play extremely hard and want to win, but it does force a certain amount of sportsmanship and honesty. You have to respect that your opponent will respect the game as much as you do.”
For the past 20 years, Hanes has played ultimate — on grass — for teams in Toronto, Vancouver and the Comox Valley. To prepare for the June 18-24 tournament, he has been running laps in the sand at Air Force Beach.
This will be his first experience with a national team, but won’t be his first overseas experience playing ultimate. Six years ago, his club team competed at a tourney in Prague in the Czech Republic.
A total of 120 teams and 1,800 athletes are expected to compete in seven divisions in France.
Games will be streamed live at http://live.wcbu2017.org