The Currier Island team, in white, are comprised of players from around the world so they did not have a lot of time to prepare for the tournament. Satish Kumar / The National
The Currier Island team, in white, are comprised of players from around the world so they did not have a lot of time to prepare for the tournament. Satish Kumar / The National

Have frisbee, willing to play: Currier Island team brings global appeal to World Championship of Beach Ultimate



When, in 2004, Americans Ivan Cestero and Minh Le could not make the US team for the first World Championship of Beach Ultimate, they decided to create their own nation and Currier Island was born.

The confused organisers, eventually allowed the fictional nation to enter and have done so ever since.

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For some of the older players, and those not affiliated with or who did not make the squads of entering nations, it is an opportunity to enjoy the game at its highest level.

“I’ve been playing for 15 years, but I’ve never played for the US team,” American David Street said yesterday at Day 2 of this year’s tournament in Dubai.

“I’ve played for club teams in the United States, like Cosa Nostra. It’s my first time in the beach World Championships but I have played for Mexico.”

The story of how he joined the Currier Island team sums up perfectly the role it plays in Beach Ultimate.

“I was able to contact the captains and they were looking for players from all over the world, trying to make a global team,” Street, 36, said.

“I sent them some information about myself. My fiancee plays for Team USA so I was going to be here anyway, so I told them I’ll be here and if they take me I’d love to play for them.”

He did. The team lost its opener to India but the team “had a lot of fun anyway” according to Street.

“India had amazing spirit, they’re a really great team,” said teammate Matt Wright from Denver, Colorado. “They beat us but it was a lot of fun.”

The 35-year-old Wright was another who answered the Currier Island call for international players.

“They put out a call, I signed up and volunteered to help organise our Open Masters division team,” he said.

“So I flew over just to play in the World Championships of Beach Ultimate.”

It’s an opportunity he is making the most of.

“I got here three or four days before the tournament started and I did a little overnight desert camping trip down to Liwa Oasis, checked out the big sand dunes down there and spent a night in Abu Dhabi.”

Both players said that meeting new teammates so late is not ideal preparation.

“Our chemistry is starting from scratch so I think that’s a big disadvantage,” Street said. “But everyone has a great attitude so that plays on our side.”

“It’s probably the hardest part for us,” Wright said. “The first match we really had to learn each other’s style, all of us met on the beach yesterday and practised for our first time ­together.”

A beach in Dubai that is, not on Currier Island.

akhaled@thenational.ae

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Switching sides

Mahika Gaur is the latest Dubai-raised athlete to attain top honours with another country.

Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia, swimming)
Born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, he finished sixth in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 200m butterfly final.

Jonny Macdonald (Scotland, rugby union)
Brought up in Abu Dhabi and represented the region in international rugby. When the Arabian Gulf team was broken up into its constituent nations, he opted to play for Scotland instead, and went to the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sophie Shams (England, rugby union)
The daughter of an English mother and Emirati father, Shams excelled at rugby in Dubai, then after attending university in the UK played for England at sevens.

Results

Stage 7:
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2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step – 10sec
3. Geoffrey Bouchard (FRA) AG2R Citroen Team – 42sec
General Classification:
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
2. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenaders – 59se
3. Adam Yates (GBR) UAE Team Emirates –60sec
Red Jersey (General Classification): Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
Green Jersey (Points Classification): Tim Merlier (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
White Jersey (Young Rider Classification): Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
Black Jersey (Intermediate Sprint Classification): Edward Planckaert (FRA) Alpecin-Deceuninck

Navdeep Suri, India's Ambassador to the UAE

There has been a longstanding need from the Indian community to have a religious premises where they can practise their beliefs. Currently there is a very, very small temple in Bur Dubai and the community has outgrown this. So this will be a major temple and open to all denominations and a place should reflect India’s diversity.

It fits so well into the UAE’s own commitment to tolerance and pluralism and coming in the year of tolerance gives it that extra dimension.

What we will see on April 20 is the foundation ceremony and we expect a pretty broad cross section of the Indian community to be present, both from the UAE and abroad. The Hindu group that is building the temple will have their holiest leader attending – and we expect very senior representation from the leadership of the UAE.

When the designs were taken to the leadership, there were two clear options. There was a New Jersey model with a rectangular structure with the temple recessed inside so it was not too visible from the outside and another was the Neasden temple in London with the spires in its classical shape. And they said: look we said we wanted a temple so it should look like a temple. So this should be a classical style temple in all its glory.

It is beautifully located - 30 minutes outside of Abu Dhabi and barely 45 minutes to Dubai so it serves the needs of both communities.

This is going to be the big temple where I expect people to come from across the country at major festivals and occasions.

It is hugely important – it will take a couple of years to complete given the scale. It is going to be remarkable and will contribute something not just to the landscape in terms of visual architecture but also to the ethos. Here will be a real representation of UAE’s pluralism.

If you go

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