Butler frisbee player up for ultimate challenge

Sam Francoise (Butler). Picture: Martin Kennealey d477649
Sam Francoise (Butler). Picture: Martin Kennealey d477649

MANY spend summer throwing frisbees for fun, but Sam Francoise (22) is warming up for an international competition.

The Butler resident will represent Australia in the World U24 Ultimate Championships in Mt Claremont from January 7 to 13.

Ultimate Frisbee combines elements of grid-iron, netball and touch football in a fast-paced, non-contact sport with an overriding rule – the ‘spirit of the game’ – that encourages sportsmanship by requiring all players to self-referee.

About 1500 athletes, coaches and supporters are expected to attend the competition hosted by Australian Flying Disc Association with support from WA Ultimate and entry is free for spectators.

Tournament director Anna Haynes said 44 men’s, women’s and mixed teams had registered for this event, coming from as far afield as the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe and South Africa.

Francoise, playing in the mixed Bluebottles team, is one of 75 Australians who will represent their country in the global event.

He has been training hard with his local club Sublime Ultimate, based in Nedlands and recently attended an international tournament in New Zealand to help prepare for the world championships.

Francoise said he was looking forward to representing his country in the world championships.

“I want to better myself, be the best I can be, which means playing at the highest level,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates.

“I also look forward to meeting new athletes from other countries and showing them that the Aussies never go down without a fight.”

Since he started playing in 2010, his achievements have included being a member of Australia’s under-19 team playing in Dublin in 2012.

In 2013, Francoise was named most valuable player and won a gold medal at the Australian Youth Ultimate Championships.

He was named WA youth player of the year in 2014, represented Australia in London with the under-23 men’s team in 2015 and brought home a bronze medal from the under-22 State Championships in 2016.

“I love Ultimate because, compared to other sports I’ve been a part of, it requires the most athleticism,” he said.

“There’s never any time for a rest and I love that challenge.”

The flying disc has become the ultimate weapon in a worldwide sporting phenomenon that was first conceived in the US about 1970.