New Zealand Canoe Polo teams head to Europe for World Championships

New Zealand Canoe Polo teams are getting ready to take on the world as they departed for Europe this week. Four teams made up of this country’s finest players will be aiming for a podium finish at the ICF Canoe Polo World Championships in Thury-Harcourt, France. Canoe Polo is a relatively unknown sport, mainly due to its non-inclusion in Commonwealth or Olympic Games schedules and its lack of television coverage, however, it is a growing sport worldwide with European teams enjoying tournaments most weekends. The sport is a cross between water polo, basketball and kayaking played on a 35m x 23m court with a goal suspended at each end. Teams are made up of up to eight players, with five on the court at any one time. The object of the game is to pass the ball to your players and score as many goals as possible, all the time being jostled by the other team. It all comes down to tactics and positional play. New Zealand has long been sending teams to the World Championships which are held every two years. Its women’s team is currently ranked fourth and men ranked fifth in the world. In 2012, an under-21 men’s

go and under-21 women’s team were also sent, with the latter bringing home the bronze. MB2-702 070-410 As an amateur sport, each player has had to fundraise the $8000 cost of attending. It certainly isn’t cheap particularly when a kayak and paddle doesn’t fit easily into a standard suitcase. On top of finding funds, teams have been training nationally since late last year and, in the build-up to the main event, they will pick up the pace by competing in weekend tournaments in the Netherlands, France and Belgium before arriving in Normandy, France for the World Championship from 22-28 September. If there’s one thing New Zealand do well, it’s our competitiveness in water sports. With a lot of heart and plenty of grit, these teams from our little island nation, far from even its closest competitors, have got a lot to play for. Forteamupdates during the tour visit: <a href=””></a><a href=””></a><a href=””></a><a href=””></a> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td width=”301″><strong>NZ Paddle Ferns (Women)</strong>Tania Dugdale (captain) – Christchurch Megan Juno – Palmerston North Erin Bolton – Palmerston North Emma Hicks – Palmerston North Jordan Housiaux – Otaki Hannah Staples – Christchurch Olivia Spencer-Bower – Christchurch</td> <td width=”301″><strong>Paddle Blacks (men)</strong>James Mitchell (captain) – Palmerston North Jed Graham – Christchurch Nevan Hadley – Palmerston North Hamish Dugdale – Christchurch Matt Keong – Palmerston North Conor Sellwood – Palmerston North Luke Dustin – Palmerston North Carl Duncan – Palmerston North</td> </tr> <tr> <td width=”301″><strong>NZ under-21 women</strong>Sophie Winton (captain) – Hawke’s Bay Britney Rolston – Auckland Stephanie Dryfhout – Palmerston North Lara Pritchard – Wairarapa Sian Fendall – Palmerston North Ella Richardson – Hawke’s Bay Jordan Pfeiler – Waikanae Sarah Ralton – Christchurch</td> <td width=”301″><strong>Junior Paddle Blacks (under-21 men)</strong>Sam Hapeta (captain) – Palmerston North Jordan Hinton – Hawke’s Bay James Gibb – Auckland Jade Johnson – Christchurch Aaron Crabb – Palmerston North Ollie Maassen – Palmerston North Max Whitaker-Mills – Palmerston North Rod McDonald – Auckland</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> &nbsp;