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World championships for Nagambie

Canoe polo only made its debut on Lake Nagambie at the weekend - but it could be the venue for the sport's biggest event in 2018.

CHALPAT SONTI March 12, 2014 11:06am

Action from the Victorian Canoe Polo Invitational held in Nagambie at the weekend.


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In a little more than two weeks we will know if Nagambie is to host a world championship sporting event in 2018 — and the sport itself made its debut at the regatta centre at the weekend.

As these pictures show, canoe polo is a bit like water polo, but in kayaks.

With teams of five playing two 10-minute halves in a field 35m by 20m and goals 2m above the water, it is all action. The facility at Nagambie was established after a $24000 Victorian Government grant last year.

The weekend’s Victorian Invitational — which saw 21 teams from Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Canberra in attendance — was the first event played on the fields, which sit in the area outside the regatta centre.

The top officials from the sport were there, and have played a key role along with Strathbogie Shire Council’s Libby Webster in ensuring a permanent home at the facility.

They are also thinking big. Australian Canoe Polo chairman Ian Beasley told the Telegraph that a bid had been put in to host the 2018 World Championships at Nagambie.

‘‘We’ll know the answer on March 30,’’ he said.

‘‘We are holding the Oceania Championships here next year as well.’’

That could involve 30 countries sending four teams each, as well as officials and supporters.

Nagambie was an ideal solution for a sport looking for a Victorian home he said.

In Melbourne, where the bulk of the players are based, teams play indoors at the Richmond Recreation Centre and on the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers.

‘‘Nagambie is better than those rivers or Geelong where we also play (on the Barwon River) and we’re looking to make it a home,’’ Mr Beasley said.

The Victorian Invitational saw players range in age from under-13 to 60-plus, with all grades catered for. There were also mixed classes and room for many more players.

There are about 150 registered players in Victoria at present, but officials would love to get the sport established in regional centres.

Victorian Canoe Polo chairman Mike Wilson was heavily involved in setting up the Nagambie facility with Ms Webster and Canoeing Victoria executive officer Andrea Boothroyd.

‘‘Having a semi-permanent base means we can organise for weekends and training camps as well,’’ Mr Wilson said.

‘‘We’ll have at least one more competition here this year and there’s huge possibilities for it in future, including setting up a club.’’

Anyone interested in playing can contact Libby Webster at the Strathbogie Shire Council, who will put them in touch with the organisers.

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