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Parysians represent Gauteng at SA Canoe Polo champs

With 90 athletes in 16 teams – 5 senior and 11 junior – representing Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN competing for national titles, it made for some exciting games

Canoe polo has often been described as a mixture of rugby, water polo, canoeing and basketball as players paddle in specialised boats, allowing them to pop up if they fall over while tackling for the ball with paddles and shooting goals into the netball-type net, or blocking with their paddles and racing up and down the course. It is an exciting sport combining physicality, skill and fitness.

With 90 athletes in 16 teams – 5 senior and 11 junior – representing Gauteng, Western Cape and KZN competing for national titles, it made for some exciting games at the recent 2024 SA Canoe Polo Championships at Baynesfield Estate in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal on 4 and 5 May.

Team members gained a lot from the experience.

Numerous schools in the East Rand, West Rand, and central suburbs of Johannesburg, and further afield – including Parys and North-West University, represented the Gauteng team. Taryn van Olden, from Parys, participated in the Gauteng Women’s Open team, while Erik du Preez, also from Parys, participated in the Open Gauteng Men’s B team. Most team players arrived on 2 May to enable them to settle and for warmup sessions.

The Gauteng Men’s team ultimately claimed the senior men’s title, fighting hard to retain their first place from 2023 against a much improved Western Cape side. The Women’s Gauteng A team also fought back from 2 goals down, with a series of excellent goals, to win by 2 in the last minutes of their match.

The SA Canoe Polo Champs Open Women’s team with Parysian Taryn van Olden on the right.

The Gauteng Women’s Open Team made a huge comeback after the first two games; they settled into the groove and gained confidence, making it to the finals, where they finished second, having played with incredible heart.

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