This July, Hobart will be hosting the fourth CMAS World Age Group Underwater Hockey Championships.
Underwater Hockey Australia executive director Nick Martyn said it will be the biggest underwater hockey World Championship yet, with 34 teams competing, including powerhouses Colombia, France, South Africa, Turkey, and New Zealand.
“We have put our focus into making the tournament affordable, thus enabling as many teams to come as possible.”
Australia will be represented by under-23 and under-19 men and women’s teams, who will all be vying for the World Championship title.
“We have come away with medals before, and will be hoping that the home pool advantage helps to push them all the way into the grand final game,” said Martyn.
Underwater hockey is played with two teams of six, each with four subs, in a 25-metre long court.
The players compete to score goals using a rubber-coated lead puck and small sticks.
This makes up the basic logistics of the game, but with underwater hockey being a 3-dimensional sport where players need to hold their breath to be in the game, the diversity of strategies between teams ensures a thrilling contest.
Thomas Milner was the youngest member of the Australian under-23 men’s team that finished with a silver medal at the 2015 World Championship in Spain.
“The loss to Turkey in the final was heartbreaking, especially after we had gone through the competition undefeated,” he said.
The defeat has made Milner determined to take the second chance to win a gold medal for his country.
“The competition will be fierce, but I know the boys will give 110% and we’ll have a fair crack at the title.”
With such a strong field of competitors, the highlight of the tournament is shaping up to be the long-standing, bitter rivalry between Australia and our neighbours in New Zealand.
“It is great to see some of the rivalries in underwater hockey that really bring out the best in the athletes in terms of lifting their competition to another level,” said Martyn.
Everyone is encouraged to come along and support the Australian teams at the Doone Kennedy Hobart Aquatic Centre from the 14th to the 22nd of July.