National teams finally cross swords before Györ, but international teams look to block their road to a Windmill title.
June 13, 2019 by Ráchel Tošnerová in Preview with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s coverage of Windmill is presented by VC Lookfly; all opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at VC Lookfly!
A total of forty mixed teams will come to the windy capital of the Netherlands next weekend to play at the 15th edition of Windmill. National teams will try to get more play time in before EUC and players from overseas gather to face off fierce European clubs as well as experience the famous festival atmosphere of one of the biggest tournaments in Europe.
- Date: June 14-16, 2019
- Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- Weather: 20° C, 10-20 km/h winds, scattered rain
- Teams in the Mixed Division: 40
- Format: Swiss draw
With the European Ultimate Championship coming up at the beginning of July, there are not many opportunities left for national teams to test their game against elite teams. However, only seven teams out of nineteen participating in the mixed division at EUC will find their way to Windmill.
Top contenders in the mixed division definitely include squads from France and Germany. Both countries have steady mixed programs and certainly enough players to build competitive teams across divisions. A large contingent from the French team have already played together at this year’s European Beach Ultimate Championship and a couple of names on the roster can be traced back to EUC 2015. The Germans are led by the experienced head coach Heiko Walldorf, who prepared Team Poland for the World Games 2017, and has made a large impact coaching several German teams.
Austria will be coming straight from a three-day Talampaya, whilst for the Czech Republic, it will be the first and only opportunity to gel on the field before the championship. Both of these countries have a stronger focus in men’s and women’s but less experience can still be outweighed by eagerness and effort. Ireland and Belgium have had quite a turnover of players on their rosters since the last national team cycle. Windmill will be a good opportunity for them to show where they stand against stronger opponents.
An exciting addition to the European ultimate scene is coming in the form of Belarus. The first national team from Belarus to ever attend a European Championship has started its preparations in 2018. The players are no rookies to the game, though, as many of them have gathered experience in other countries playing elite club ultimate.
It is no secret that Windmill attracts the most diverse international competition out of all European tournaments. International players joining together to form party teams as well as highly competitive teams1 present a great opportunity for European players to test their skills against fresh opponents. Recently, a number of teams have entered the tourney to simply show what they stand for.
This year the Panas Ultimate Dream Team is sure to yet again brighten up the mood of many with their dance warmups and shiny smiles. It is not the first time we’re seeing this team of players with Venezuelan origin enjoy a tournament together, remembering where they come from after spending (sometimes) years abroad and playing for other countries. The Sexicans have a similar philosophy though their players are Mexican in origin.
Even though the players of Rainbow Brigade do not represent one country, they have a common message to share. In their own words:
“Our team is a collection of LGBTQ+ individuals with elite ultimate experience hailing from 3 continents. We have decades of playing experience and have competed in European, US, and World championships. Many of us are founders and captains of our respective clubs. We’ve come together around a common vision of bringing a super fun, super competitive all-queer pickup team to Windmill. We identified Windmill as the perfect stage for our queer super team because of its position in the spotlight of the global ultimate community. The tournament will shine a spotlight on queer athleticism, foster global queer community in the sport, and start conversations about how to make ultimate a more inclusive environment for all players.”
Together with a few other US teams such as Triple Crown or Shenanigans, Rainbow Brigade is sure to aim for a medal at this prestigious event. For those looking for an opportunity to play against more exotic countries, keep an eye on McDuff (Australia), Black Sheep (New Zealand), Ghost Ultimate Club (South Africa), WuSuoWei (China), or Masala Chai (India).
Ever since Grut (Amsterdam, NL) entered the club scene they have done nothing but dominate the mixed division. They have won the last two Windmills in their classic exciting fashion. This year they will be missing star player Benjamin Oort and potentially also Lawko van der Weiden, which could prevent them from taking the hat-trick this year. Another hot pick for the top ranks is SMOG (UK) coming back to the spotlight after a grueling WUCC season last year. A few more traditional ultimate programs are looking to make their mark in Windmill history. Flow (Wroclaw, PL) finished 5th at EUCF last year and this will be their main preparation tournament. For most of their talented junior players, it will be a first-time Windmill experience.
Colorado (Karlsruhe, DE) seem to have slightly exhausted their power at WUCC last year but a with a tradition of 34 years, they know how to recruit new talent, which might keep the momentum going and the hopes for a medal high. Hässliche Erdferkel (Marburg, DE) and the French teams Ah Ouh Puc (Paris, FR) and Sesquidistus (Strasbourg, FR) might be missing a few players due to the attendance of the respective national teams and this could dash the chances for these teams that would normally be in bracket contention.
The unknown in the equation will be MSU (Moscow, RU). The mixed club was founded in 2010 by students and graduates of Moscow State University and among others features some national team players from both men’s and women’s division.
And oftentimes both! ↩