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Players Hold Their Breath for Gold

Players Hold Their Breath for Gold

It’s the only sport where you can’t breathe as you play, and despite the low profile in New Zealand, we’re the best in the world at it. The 2006 Underwater Hockey World Championships are being held in England this month, with three New Zealand teams playing to defend their titles, and another team hoping to win gold.

The NZ Men, Under 19 boys and Under 19 girls are all current world champions after victory in Christchurch in 2004. The NZ Women ranked second and have a team determined to go one step further this time.

Four-time veteran and captain of the NZ Men’s team, Liam Watson, says they have a strong team hoping for another gold medal performance. “There are 18 countries competing, with the strongest challenges likely to be from France, South Africa and Holland,” says Liam. “It’s going to be a tough competition but we hope our mix of youth, experience and determination can see us hold onto our title.”

Underwater hockey involves two teams of six players trying to push a weighted puck with a short stick into a goal at the bottom of a deep pool. Players wear a mask, snorkel and flippers.

Games start in Sheffield on 15 August, with the final on the 26th. New Zealand’s progress can be followed at www.nzuwh.com

ENDS

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