Written by: Jane Ballot
Signalling the end of the 2013/14 canoeing year, the South African Canoe Polo Championships were held in Pietermaritzburg this last weekend. Originally scheduled to be held at Shongweni Dam, the tournament was moved to the varsity pool in Pietermaritburg at the last minute, due to low water levels in the dam.
Organizers Laurel Oettle and Clive Whitton performed near miracles, which resulted in a tournament that ran like clockwork with every aspect catered for. There were 13 different teams that played in 35 games over the two days, running ahead of schedule on the Saturday and on time on the Sunday – thanks to the excellent organization and running of the competition.
The teams participated in four different categories. Although there was only one entry in the U21 Ladies category, the presence of this team at the tournament shows the growth of Ladies polo in the country. There were four teams in the U21 Men’s division. The battles were hard fought, with Gauteng taking the gold medal after exciting games against first KZN and then Western Cape A, who took the silver. KZN took the bronze. In the Women’s division, the Western Cape took the bronze medals. The Gauteng and KZN Ladies teams fought hard for the title, with the gold going to KZN and Gauteng taking the silver.
The Men’s Open division saw the most exciting games of the tournament. Long-time rivals KZN and Gauteng fought epic battles, which resulted in KZN winning the gold and Gauteng Men’s A taking the silver. An exciting aspect to this division was the entrance of the Gauteng Junior Men’s team, which took the bronze medal after a closely fought battle with Western Cape A.
With competitions such as these, canoe polo in South Africa is going from strength to strength.
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