Borneo’s biggest ultimate frisbee tournament returns for 11th edition.

KOTA KINABALU, March 9 – After a two-year hiatus, the Borneo Headhunters Hat international ultimate frisbee tournament returned to the state capital with some 300 participants from 10 countries.

The sporting tournament is in its 11th run, but took a two year break during the pandemic.

“We are very fortunate to be able to organise the tournament again and have visitors come to Sabah and participate in the sporting event,” said tournament director Dinoza Mahruf.

Participants flew in from Australia, Korea, China, India, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur. Nationalities were also spread out to include Canadians, Americans, British and Spanish.

“We were worried that flight limitations would affect the turnout but more than 700 signed up for the tournament. Due to field restraints, we can only accept 300 every year but this is still a very good sign that people are eager and willing to come to Kota Kinabalu,” said Dinoza.

The tournament took place last weekend, March 4 and 5, and saw 16 teams of 19 people vying against each other.

In a hat format tournament, players sign up as individuals and rate themselves on skills and experience before organisers assign them to teams with the aim of creating balanced teams.

Teams consist of players of all ages and backgrounds who have to find their own chemistry and compete against each other.

Honesty, self awareness and integrity are important values to the game which are embodied in the Spirit of the Game, or good sportsmanship.

Despite many close matches, it was the Purple team, led by captain Bernard Lee from Bintulu, Sarawak who led his team to victory, winning all but one game this weekend. They won six games and lost one.

They beat the Neon Green team in the finals in a grudge match from the day before. Neon green, captained by Andrew Yew from Kuala Lumpur, had just inched out Purple from their unbeaten record. Neon Green also had an impressive run, having only lost to Dark Green during the group stage.

The finals score was 9-8 in a nail-biting final which saw Amrita Tan make a controversially impressive call that gave Purple an advantage for the final goal. Looi Kian Seng eventually scored the winning point from a pass by Renae Leong.

Team Dark Green, captained by American Neil Orzechowski won third place.

The Spirit team winner was the Royal Blue team captained by Kong Seng Yic.

Although Ultimate frisbee is a team sport, the players got the chance to vote for the most valuable player on each team, and the player who ultimately took the title was Rey Sheng from Penang and  Thong Gin Yee from Kuala Lumpur.

Former Malaysian Flying Disc Association president Ong Ben Jin said that the tournament was among the best in the region despite its low profile as a tournament destination.

“Kota Kinabalu or Sabah itself is not known for its Ultimate scene in Malaysia. At the same time, Malaysia Ultimate is also super thankful to the BHH tournament committee for always organising one of the best Hat tournaments in the region,” he said.


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