WFDF 2019 World Team Disc Golf Championships Opening Ceremony

Welcome to the 3rd WTDGC

This is a unique event in DG Calendar. It brings nations together to compete against each other in a way that shows the best of our sport. It allows skill, strategy and spirit to be at the heart of the game.

WFDF represents 84 countries worldwide, of which 43 have Disc Golf Associations. We represent all Disc Sports on the international Stage and though WFDF has had a general emphasis on Ultimate in the past this event is now redressing that balance. Overall events and Freestyle are also benefitting from a broader approach by the WFDF Board and indi-vidual event Chairs, of which I am one, are having a much greater influence on the organ-isation as a whole.

This event give a platform to all this countries who are members through their National Disc Sports Federations or are linked to their WFDF members in other ways. In this we are very different to the PDGA but over the past four years we have come to a closer un-derstanding of the strengths and opportunities that working together can offer all players.

PDGA provide a competition format and a Rating system for individual players – for you. WFDF offers you a chance to compete for your country in a National Team event that en-ables access to the International Olympic Committee and your own National Olympic Or-ganizations. Having WFDF recognised by IOC and as importantly by GAISF (Global As-sociation of Sports Federations – formerly SportAccord) is an important stepping stone towards inclusion in Multi Sports Events – International World Games (Ultimate and DG), World Urban Games (Freestyle), World Masters Games (Ultimate and DG) and eventually Olympic Games. This gives our sport greater exposure and normalises what we do – wit-ness what is happening in Estonia where Disc Golf is accepted as an athletic sport, part of the mainstream of Estonian sporting life.

And talking of Estonian DG – this event could not have happened without the support of the EE DGA, the TOC, all the Sponsors and Staff. We will have time to applaud their con-tribution at the end of the week but let’s start by saying a huge thank you for all their ef-forts to this point. Thank You

For this event in particular I would like to address two particular issues which are at the heart of what WFDF does. The first is Equality. The Format for this event is based on the principles of fair play and equal opportunity for all to compete at the highest level in their sport. You are all given the opportunity to contribute to the results of your Team, especial-ly in Doubles matches in Alternate Shot. You cannot rely on the big guns to win the game – whoever you are have to contribute at your own best to compete against players who may have higher Ratings than you but are no better on the day than your own best.

The second principle is Inclusion. Your teams are made up of Men, Women, Old Men and Juniors. You all play on an equal basis – contributing to your team whatever your age or gender. Many countries who are members of WFDF are not here because they have no women or juniors – you are here as a team because you have fostered play amongst wom-en and juniors and they are now part of your venture.

It is true for me that one reason for the inclusion of both groups is that it should encour-age further growth of the sport as a team event. We have grown from 6 teams in Vancou-ver to 10 in Colchester to 17 here. By 2021 I am confident that we will have at least 24. You are a part of that growth and just by being here you have made it possible for others in the future to be here as well. You will all return with great stories to tell and new friends made – of that I am sure. I thank you all.

I am more than aware of the sacrifices that you all make to travel to this event – both per-sonally and professionally. The cost is not just financial – and I would like to pay tribute to all of you who have helped your team mates be here – with your own time and commit-tee, ent for the sport. Find time this week to say a private THANK YOU to your Captains and Managers but in the meantime let’s applaud their efforts.

Finally, I would like to recognise one group of people who make this event a reality for all of you. That is then parents of all the Juniors here. Many parents are travelling with their Juniors this year which follows on from 2017 – but also many others have encouraged their children to play and entrusted them to our care as a Disc Golf Community. Without the support of these parents you would not have a team and our future would not be as bright – as a parent of an MPO here I know only too well what is required to support young players who aspire to be part of an elite group – and I applaud you all for the way you are allowing your children to follow their dream – which is also part of ours.

My role as Technical Director for this event means that I am responsible for the Format, Schedule, Rules and Results – I am looking forward to seeing how you all play this week. Enjoy!

–Charlie Mead, Technical Director of the Tournament–