South West talent shines on national stage for WA
Western Australia appears to have a bright future in underwater hockey, after making a splash at the 2019 Australian Nationals tournament in Cairns.
Aside from all six sides returning home with medals – one gold, four silver and one bronze – 12 of the travelling contingent were from the Bunbury Underwater Hockey Club.
Australian junior development officer and perennial international representative Clayton “Jumpy” Jendrzejak was positive about how the club’s players went about their business.
“We’ve provided a substantial amount of athletes from under 15s through to the masters division,” he said.
“We have always strived really hard to promote our youth and most of the juniors I have trained or coached are now playing for Australia. In addition, there have been a few representatives from our club who are now getting ready for the world championships.”
At Under 15 level, WA fielded two sides – a development and main squad – with youngsters Jorja Horsfall, Jess Babich, Hamish Hilyard, Kurtis Martin and Ariana Lloyd relishing their chance to play against the nation’s best.
Jendrzejak believes a series of initiatives to promote underwater hockey in the region are complementing a rich history of success.
“It’s not a really big spectator sport here as it’s all played underwater,” he said. “Although we are getting better now with cameras and people wanting to participate.
“We’ve tried a few schooling programs with Newton Moore Senior High School and Dalyellup College – but we are finding that word of mouth through the kids from swimming clubs and other clubs is helping.”
If you are keen to try a different sport or are a little curious, Jendrzejak feels underwater hockey might be the sport for you.
“If you like snorkelling and diving, the game structure is quite intensive,” he said. “It’s a very good sport to play in terms of fitness and socialising.
“It is quite hard because you can’t communicate without the vision, knowing the style and where you need to be to receive the puck in-play.”
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