The 2019 South African Canoe Polo Championships were held at Shongweni Dam this past weekend with the KwaZulu-Natal men’s side and women’s team claiming the respective titles after the toughest competition on record.
The KwaZulu-Natal A and Gauteng A men’s final was an incredibly tight game with extra time needed to get a result. In the end, KZN managed to edge out Gauteng 4-3 to finish as the 2019 National Canoe Polo champions. The Western Cape Senior team took the bronze medal position.
The KZN ladies took the win in the women’s division with KZN U21 team finishing 2nd. The Knysna girls team took third, narrowly losing out the KZN ladies in the earlier semifinal, showing the depth of the current ladies squad.
The Under 16 division had five teams taking part. The games were well supported by crowds on the banks, with each game being played like a final. The Gauteng Barracudas took the gold with the Stellenbosch Development Team in 2nd and Epworth 1 in 3rd.
Due to there not being enough time to have a separate division for the U21 men, Open ladies and U21 ladies teams, they were combined into one division.
Each division had its own set of finals after the group stages, and without exception, all the divisions were extremely competitive and often the final positions were decided by a single goal.
The Western Cape U21 side was the only team to retain its title, with KZN U21 taking second and Gauteng U21 in third.
The event organisers had to map out a second pitch on the Shongweni Dam because of the huge entry for the event. There were eventually 65 games player with 19 teams and 129 players which made it the biggest ever SA championships.
The organising committee was delighted to report that the discipline of Canoe polo continues to grow year-on-year and there was a 20% increase on entries from last year.