Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Worlds in Review Part 2 - Firetails

Here at the manor we are continuing our worlds wrap with an interview with yet another queenslander (even though she has now moved to melbourne) Maylin Chuah and yes another long post but I think worlds deserves it.

Congrats on making the team, so would say it is about time. 

Thanks, it was fantastic to be part of the Firetails in 2012, it was an amazing experience.

Could you fill us in on the selection process for the firetails and what are your thoughts on the selection process and then the overall selection of the Firetails team?

The selection process was well executed. It seems so long ago since we had the first camp with 60 women that were selected. From 60 there was a cut down to 35 players who attended 3 selection camps over June / July 2011. The final team of 23 was selected in late August 2011. The selection camps were tough, both mentally and physically. Being from QLD it was had to look at yourself compared to the top players from down south. Overall my experience with the selection process was positive (of course making the team influenced that!)

As we have mentioned you were based in Brisbane. However you moved to Melbourne early in the campaign do you think this helped your training for worlds compared to slugging it out alone up here is Brissie?

The move to Melbourne was mostly a lifestyle choice but the frisbee opportunities were also a motivation. It was definitely beneficial to be based here, where there was a core of 11 players from the Firetails. It meant we could complete the weekly POD sessions together and urge each other on during the tough nights in the cold. I guess I wouldn’t have had the cold problem in Brissy!

Your definitely right there we are lucky in the sunshine state to never suffer the cold. Moving on the the start of the campaign. What are your thoughts on the pretour? Was it a help for the team?

The Firetails went to Tokyo to play some pre-tour games. We played 7 games over 3 days against various women’s teams from around Japan. It was really valuable to acclimatise and get used to the Japanese style of play. We saw a few of the Team Japan players join another team to play against us but we did not actually play Team Japan. It took a while to get used to the heat and humidity over there and playing these 3 days tired us out quite a bit. Unfortunately the fields were not in great shape and a few people suffered injuries. We also played Team Canada in Sakai a couple of days before the tournament. That was great to be able to play a game at the fields against a real team and get your head in to the right zone.

So watching back here in Australia and see photos popping up on facebook of all the tour shenanigans it looked like Japan was a welcoming host country. How was the tournament received locally and did anything surprise you?

It seems like there were a few Japanese people watching the Japanese games. I don’t think there were a high number of spectators but the tournament got a bit of local media coverage. I was surprised when a local businessman on the bus explained to some other locals that we were here playing Ultimate Frisbee.

I doubt many would admit to knowing why there were smelly ultimate player on their bus. The Japanese have a reputation for running large events well, comparatively to nats how did you find the tournament was run?

The tournament was run pretty smoothly. I think in Australia we are blessed with (generally!) shade and easy access to water, in Japan the shade was minimal and water only in the toilet block. It certainly makes me appreciate when those small things are done well. There were a few issues with warm up / down space but other than that the logistics were pretty good. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of tournament merchandise; there was no stock or sizes smaller than L after the second day which I think was poor planning for such a huge event.

Thats a shame we here at the manor were hoping you would bring back a new kimo as the old one is getting a bit smelly. Oh well moving on, I don’t know why most of the women comps I have seen to prefer larger pools to repooling. Do you think this should be changed or is it a fair system?

There were 11 teams in the competition, which was an awkward number. I wasn’t really aware of the WFDF standard structure for that many teams but I think I would have preferred 2 smaller pools. It seems like a pretty simple format of top 4 go through, there is no chance to work your way up again if you lose 4 games – which is what happened to us. We played 12 games in total; the most games out of every division. It was a long haul and perhaps a different structure would be something to consider for the future.

Yikes 12 games, But I agree 11 teams makes a draw difficult. Obviously being a full round robin you got to play all the teams in your competition. How do you think the Firetails stacked up against the like of the USA, Japan and Canada?

These were always going to be tough games for us. I felt like we should have been more competitive against the Canadians after we had a pretty solid warm up game against them. I was really glad to see Japan win the tournament as I think they were definitely the best team at the tournament. These 3 teams are clearly the best in the world and I think the Firetails are just a step away (and hopefully only a few years) from being in that class.

Lets hope those newbies on the team can up their game next time and give them a better run. The Game to go through to the finals turn out to be a hard fought game against the Columbians. From all accounts I have seen of the game could have been more spirited. Talk us through the game quickly and do you think anything such as observers would have helped?

That game was really strange. I think the recount on our blog gave a good summary from our point of view (http://firetails.blogspot.jp) I think at this level of the game it is essential that all players have a thorough knowledge of the rules, or the spirit to admit when they do not know the rule/s. It was a real pity to see such an athletic and talented team play without a basic comprehension of the rules or fair play. I think in this case observers would be useful or an alternative would be mandatory rules accreditation for at least the captain of each team.

So going out of the competition with 2 strong wins was good, but I am sure the girls would have loved a crack at the Columbians again and a shot at a medal. What did you learn at the tournament and what was the teams thoughts Post tournament?

Yes, definitely we would have loved to meet the Columbians again, however given the nature of the first game I am not sure that another match would have been played with any fewer stoppages. I guess we learnt that every game really matters in such a competition structure. I am not sure that we realised that the Columbia game was the one we had to win.

I think we would have loved to see that game regardless of stoppages. That said the womens final was in my opinion the most exciting of the 3 finals on the last day. What were you thoughts on the game and the large home crowd that were in attendance at the game?

It was a great final. Japan stepped up to the occasion and played with such precision and class. After a slow start there was a couple of times during the game that they got 3 or 4 points in a row. I really enjoy watching these women play, the Japanese execute their offence so cleanly and efficiently and the Americans play with sheer muscle and guts.

So the big question will we see you on the fields again in 4 years time?

I hope so, once you play at the World level it’s hard to not want to do it again…but a lot can happen in 4 years. If I don’t go for or make the Firetails I would definitely be keen for the masters team (yes I’ll be old enough then!)  

Well then have a good rest and hopefully more of the brisbane girls will join you next worlds. 

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