Victorian players were pivotal members of the Australian Underwater Hockey teams that dominated the 19th CMAS Underwater Hockey World Championships.
Australian teams were crowned the world champion team in three of the four divisions, claiming the Elite Mens, Masters Men (over 35 years old) and Masters Womens (over 32 years old) titles. The Australian Elite Women’s team placed 6th in championships held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The Australian Elite Men team prevailed 3-0 over a valiant Turkish team in the final game of the championship. Two Victorian based players, Rees Quilford and Luke Rector, were members of the team.
The win was a testament to the team’s focus according to Victorian based player Luke Rector, “This was three years in the planning and three years of training. We played to the plan today and the boys got it done,” he said.
Australia’s history making day began early in the day when the Australian Masters Womens team prevailed three goals to one over their South African counterparts.
As both the coach and a player, Victorian Kirsteen ‘Chooky’ Reid was a key member of the team. She praised the spirit and determination of her players, “It was an amazing result for us today. It was a tough game but the girls played so well, I couldn’t be prouder,” she said. The win made it back-to-back World Championship titles for the team.
The success continued when the Australian Masters Mens team won their gold medal game in convincing style. The Australian’s dominated their Great Britain opponents from the outset scoring a goal in the opening minute. The 4-0 half-time margin blew out to an unequivocal 9-1 win.
The team, which included Victorian Hamish Ride, was absolutely dominant, going through the tournament undefeated and defending its World Championship title in the division.
The win was the culmination of an excellent tournament by all players in the squad according to playing coach Ride, “The boys executed the Australian style to perfection today. We played open and skillful hockey,” he said.
The Australian Elite Women’s team didn’t finish in the medals but made great improvement throughout the competition. The team included Victorian based players Belinda Watts-Keeley and Camille White and was coached by Tania McLeish (now based in Holland) and Eden Brown (now in NSW).
A number of current and former Victorian players also represented other countries at the competition. Lucero Perdomo Cruz played for the Colombian Masters Womens team, Juan Manuel Castaño Cardenas for the Colombian Mens Masters, and Ena Ng represented Singapore.
The 10-day tournament brought together more than 400 players from 44 teams competing across the four divisions. 17 nations were represented at the tournament.