The South African Canoe Polo Championships will take place at the University of KwaZulu Natal swimming pool in Pietermaritzburg this coming weekend, the 22nd and 23rd March, after it was initially scheduled to take place at Shongweni Dam but the champs should still be a hard-fought battle between the provinces once again.
The last minute change came very recently as the dam level is unseasonably low at the moment which meant that the organisers were unable to rig the pitch.
“We will, however, be hosting the Durban International tournament at Shongweni on the 24th and 25th May, which Namibia have confirmed they will be sending men’s, ladies and U21 teams to,” the organisers of the event said.
Ladies, men, Under 21 and development teams from KwaZulu Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng will be pitted against each other throughout the two days, each hoping to win the final on Sunday afternoon.
The sport of Canoe Polo has shown a promising growth spurt in the last few years with the long-awaited return of KwaZulu Natal residents Clive Whitton and Laurel Oettle from eight years in the United Kingdom.
Their passion, talent and wealth of international and European club experience stands the future of South African Canoe Polo in good stead, and they both were awarded player of the year after leading their National teams to victory at the Africa Championships in Namibia in September 2013, where the South African U21 men’s team also took gold.
These victories secured an invitation to the World Canoe Polo Championships in France in September 2014, and with players from each province spread across the National squads and the final selection event for the senior men’s and ladies team to be held next month, all the players will be on good form and eager to demonstrate their skills this weekend.
The KZN and Gauteng teams have experienced a particularly fierce rivalry in the last few years, with the KZN ladies taking victory in extra time at last year’s picturesque Cape Town Waterfront venue.
The Gauteng men’s team managed to scrape victory in the last two years running, and KZN are determined to set the record straight after their decade-long previous domination of the sport.
To make the event even more exciting, the much-improved Gauteng U21 team has entered the competition in the senior men’s category in preparation for the upcoming World Championships, and the Cape Town-based teams have grown in numbers over the past two years and also hope to make an impact on this year’s results.
There will also be a strong development team from the Western Cape attending the event for the first time, as well as three development players within the Gauteng squad, which is a vital step forward in increasing diversity within the sport.
For further information or interviews, please contact Laurel Oettle on firstname.lastname@example.org / 076 127 5270.