As day six brings the curtain down on a fantastic celebration of Junior Ultimate, at times it looked like we weren’t going to make it. 47 teams, having flown from the far corners of the globe to be part of around 1100 players in four different competitions, have played their hearts out. There have been bumps in the road – there can’t be many tournaments, let alone World Championship events, that can boast that they had to contend with a hurricane warning. Fields were lost due to the atrocious weather, emergency schedules were created, trees were blown over, famous Irish pop-stars were sighted and, probably the most surprising of all, the sun came out at times. But we did make it, and if you check out any of the footage on UltiVillage.com, we did it in style!
On day 7 we get to crown our champions in the World Junior Open and Women’s divisions and the European Under 17 Women’s division. The World Championship matches will have a very Pan-American feel to them and thousands are expected to pour into Tolka Park to witness what are likely to be amazing games of Ultimate – a fitting end to the week. Lets meet our finalists.
World Junior Open Division
It’s clear that Ultimate in North and South America is going from strength to strength – 3 of the four semi-finalists are from these two continents. Germany, the lone European representative, were looking to topple an imperious Colombia, who had been gathering momentum over the course of the week. Belief was high in the German camp, having taken half against the US, but sadly it was not meant to be and the Colombians secured their spot in the gold medal match. They would definitely be meeting a North American team, but which one. Canada and the United States have been the power-houses of Junior Ultimate – it is taught in schools across these nations, there are summer camps dedicated to the sport and they are reaping the rewards of strong youth systems. It goes without saying that both teams really wanted this and the Americans managed to take the win, advancing forward to the final to meet the Colombians. Editor-in-Chief of this rag, Mark Earley, said “there is only one word for the semis – incredible!” Lets hope todays game holds more of the same.
World Junior Women’s Division
There must be something in the water on the other side of ‘the Pond’. The same four teams as the Open division suited up to face off in the semis, albeit in different combination. Canada had to face the reigning champs,
Colombia, a re-match of the semi-final two years, and were looking to avenge that loss. The Colombians were just too strong and booked their place in the final, keeping their dreams of back to back World Championships alive. Would it be a re-match of the final as well…? Well, as it happens, yes it would. The US defeated Germany to take the other spot, and with that, a chance to take home the greatest prize in Junior Ultimate. We got a little taster of what is to come today in the power pool match two days ago in the early evening gloom – those of you that were there will know that this is going to be edge of your seat stuff and a game of Ultimate of the highest quality.
European Under 17 Women’s Division
This will be between Austria and Great Britatin. Good luck to all the teams playing in the final.
Yesterday we found the first of our champions – congratulations to Germany on becoming the Under 17 European Open Division Champions after defeating Italy 15-5. The final placing games also took place yesterday across the divisions – too many games to go into in any detail, however congratulations must go to Team Canada for clinching the Bronze medal in both the World Junior Open and Women’s division. Even after a week of hard Ultimate in some of the toughest conditions, the standard of Ultimate was incredibly high. There were layout bids everywhere and with the pitches getting a ‘little’ muddy, there may be a few Mum’s that get an unwelcome surprise when the players get home and take their kit out.
From everyone involved in the newsletter, we hope that you have enjoyed WJUC 2012. Walking around the fields it has been great to see Junior Ultimate continuing to get stronger and stronger. The level of play has been exceptional, the Spirit has been very high and everyone looked to be having fun. This has extended off the field as well – from the Kiwis rocking animal print onesies from Penneys at the pajama party, to the kissing booth that was erected for one lucky Aussie boy at the trade night, the social side of this sport that further distinguishes it from other sports is as strong as ever. A massive thanks to Dominick (the TD) and his army of volunteers who have been phenomenal in testing conditions, as well as to everyone else that helped out to keep the tournament on track. We hope that you take home some amazing memories, but feel free to leave your Euros. We all know Ireland could do with them.
Edited by Keith Hodgson / Mark Earley (Editor in Chief of the Newsletter)