Why not “twice in a lifetime”?
After voting for the 2022 IWGA Team of the Year, the Flying Disc team from Germany could really cheer. The team that placed fourth in the “Ultimate” Flying Disc at TWG 2022 had great success here. In this interview, there was more than one champion who answered the questions, there were three of them: Captains Anna Gerner and Steffen Döscher, together with Stefan Rekitt, a member of the German coaching team, shared their views on the “once in a lifetime” experience – but maybe not last….
What does the title “The World Games Team of the Year 2022” mean to you?
Stefan: For Flying Disc athletes, participation in The World Games is the pinnacle of their sports careerso the German team was excited to be nominated for Team of the Year. Team Flying Disc Germany is proud to have delivered a convincing performance at The World Games and now also win this award. We are honored that fans and fans continued to vote for us and thus appreciated our performance in Birmingham, USA. It means a lot to us as a team, as well as to our community and appreciation for our sport. Added to this was the fact that not only did Flying Disc win the Team of the Year competition, but also Valeria Cardenas from the Colombian Flying Disc team won the title of Athlete of the Year in a spectacular way and fully deserved. It was a great day for our sport.
Who in your family, friends and sports colleagues reacted?
Anna: Actually, everyone answered. What surprised me most was that we were congratulated not only by players from the Flying Disc community, but also by friends and acquaintances from all walks of life. Everyone was delighted and supported us.
Who was the first to congratulate?
Anna: My parents were the first to congratulate me. They watched our matches at The World Games with great interest and also dutifully voted. First, I congratulated my teammates and coaches. I am incredibly proud of the team and grateful for the support of the Ultimate community. But the vote also shows that through The World Games we’ve been able to reach out to people outside of the Ultimate scene and inspire them to our sport.
How did you get fans behind you?
Stefan: Our media director was on fire from day one. We reached out to our fans and supporters through social media, chat groups, mailing lists and a newsletter. We reached out not only to the German Flying Disc community, but also to friends, families and colleagues from work or school. I think it helped us that as a band we have good contacts far beyond Germany. The World Flying Disc Federation represents us in national federations around the world in over 100 countries. We are very grateful for the support we have received from all over the world.
Where will you keep the trophy? Will it become a trophy carried from one team member to another?
Steffen: That’s an interesting idea. Once the trophy has completed its journey through Germany, it can take pride of place in the Bundesleistungszentrum, our Association’s executive base in Darmstadt. Many teams from all divisions and age groups in Germany use this site for training camps. I see this award as recognition for the entire German Flying Disc community, so I think it would be a fitting place for our trophy.
What are your memories of The World Games?
Steffen: Apart from the moments spent on the pitch, I remember the special atmosphere of this great multi-sport event. The meeting of athletes from other countries and sports disciplines made The World Games a unique experience, even compared to other international Flying Disc tournaments. Speaking of our performance, our entry into the tournament was obviously outstanding. We were confident and knew we could compete with the best in the world. However, the fact that we were able to achieve such great results against the favored teams of Canada and the USA far exceeded our expectations.
Is there a moment during TWG 2022 in Birmingham that you particularly remember?
Steffen: As far as the single moment that is still present, for me it is probably a negative moment and it is the end of our semi-final against Australia, which we lost by a narrow margin (12-13, ed.). Previously, the tournament was going great, but reaching the final would be the crowning achievement. However, I also think that as a team we handled this defeat very well and played a strong match for third place. This contributes to the fact that, in general, of course, many positive memories prevail.
What about the victory over the US? It was a little sensation!
Anna: The US has been dominating the Flying Disc scene for years. In my active career, I don’t recall the German national team winning against the USA before. For us, the US was the non plus ultra opponent at The World Games. It was great fun to play against them because they were the athletes we wanted to compete against. And then winning that match was an incredibly amazing feeling. We did it with team spirit, cohesion and confidence on the pitch. We’ve been preparing for over a year, more intensively and longer than any other team. Our win against the USA was a signal to the community: we can beat any opponent.
What are your goals for this year?
Stefan: This year we have the European Championships in Ireland. The first post-pandemic for us. We look forward to seeing if we can continue our strong performance at TWG 2022 in Alabama. Other European nations, Great Britain and France, were also heavily represented at The World Games. We look forward to seeing them again and playing with them.
And for the next years?
Stefan: After the European Championships comes the World Championships in 2024, and for us it is a qualifying tournament for the next edition of The World Games in Chengdu, China. We hope to secure a place for Germany in the 2025 tournament. Once you’re there, you always want to go back. The World Games is a great event and for the Flying Disc teams it’s a really special event.
Have you ever checked where Chengdu, the host of TWG 2025, is located on the map?
Steven: Actually, yes. We all saw The World Games 2022 as a “once in a lifetime experience”. But now, after this great experience, and also because of a successful but still unfinished performance without a medal, we want to return to the Games again. Qualifying for Chengdu is a big goal for the upcoming World Championships. Maybe then “twice in a lifetime” will be even better.
World games is a multi-sport event organized every four years by the International World Games Association, organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 2022 World Games took place in Birmingham, Alabama, USA from July 7-17, 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries participated in the games. The 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, CHN in 2025.