Flicking Their Way Through Tumultuous Times in The Land of Borneo

Flicking Their Way Through Tumultuous Times in The Land of Borneo

Photo courtesy of @mao.ultiphotos & @awkl_96

Bernard Lee got introduced to Frisbee by his cousin when he was 16 years old. Being a paintball player, he was naturally attracted to Ultimate Frisbee as there were some aspects about the sport that felt similar. However, the thing that got him hooked was the community and culture of the sport.

Photo courtesy of @mao.ultiphotos & @awkl_96

Ultimate or originally known as Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact team activity played by players with a frisbee, flung by hand where players get to call their own fouls, even at the highest level of competition.

“Both Ultimate & Paintball are sports that are not well-known, and those who do know about them, see them as recreational activities only.“ - Bernard Lee

However, just like major sports, Ultimate has leagues, national tournaments and even world events, all year round. It is an up and coming sport with a lot of room left to grow. Sports like Frisbee should never be overlooked. Though not well known yet, it is still a very intense sport and it requires a lot of athleticism and mental fortitude.

Photo courtesy of @mao.ultiphotos & @awkl_96

When asked about where he sees Malaysian Frisbee in 5 years. Bernard had this to say:

“It’s a sport that’s still growing here in Malaysia, and the countries currently best at Ultimate have been developing their scene for decades. The maturity of their Ultimate development has allowed for really pivotal elements to come into place, like a really strong structure for training and development. Ultimate in Malaysia is still a couple years behind, but I’m confident with recent developments we have a chance at making a dent in the world scene.”

“Love & Habit.”

That is what keeps Bernard and his team at practice day in and day out.

“You have to really want it to be able to continue this journey of improvement.”

“The body is built such that if you schedule the same activity everyday for a certain period of time, it becomes second nature. Once you stop during the off-season for a vacation it honestly feels weird.”


Photo courtesy of @mao.ultiphotos & @awkl_96

While Bernard and his team are doing well in the sports of frisbee, he feels that the sport scene in Sarawak is underdeveloped and needs more funding to support their endeavors.

“I personally feel like the overall sports scene in Sarawak is severely untapped. We have so many athletes with raw talent and amazing potential that just don’t have the privilege to pursue the chance of being a professional athlete. Not only that, but our infrastructure in Sarawak is sadly lacking, so we don’t have the facilities for our youth to be exposed to the sport, let alone train in safety.”

Poverty and Family Background are big factors that determine success in sports. Should it hold anyone back from chasing their sport dreams?

“It definitely should not. Money shouldn’t be a hindrance. But in reality, sadly, it does. When it comes to higher levels, such as training, accommodation, transport and tournaments, you need to be financially capable to participate.”

Bernard also encourages young athletes in Malaysia to chase their dreams and is thankful for companies like OVER that have tried their best to give back to the community with the only expectation of helping out the sports teams.

“One thing I’m really grateful for is that recently, there are many locally grown businesses that give back to the community by funding these athletes. Businesses like Over who support Ultimate competitions and athletes in the dodgeball community are doing a great service to those who need this extra backing.”

While Ultimate might not be well known in Malaysia yet, Bernard has made some plans on changing this.

“My plan is to cultivate more leaders within the frisbee scene in Malaysia. Making younger people step up and take more responsibilities not only makes them greater on the field but also prepares them for the future when they want to start building their business careers. An initiative back here in Sarawak is the collaboration between Sarawak Flying Disc Association (SFDA) and the Youth and Sports Ministry of Sarawak, namely YB Dato Gerald Rentap Jabu, to conduct outreach programs in high schools to expose students to Ultimate at a younger age, since that was how I fell in love with the sport and it’s intrinsic values were what molded me into the person I am today.”

Photo courtesy of @mao.ultiphotos & @awkl_96

It is really awesome to see people like Bernard doing his very best to elevate the sports scene in Malaysia. We appreciate people like him and will do our very best to put people like him in the spotlight. It will take time to see some results, but as long as we are persistent and consistent in everything we do, good things will come.



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