Don’t think the paddlers on these teams are dorks. They can out paddle you, out handroll you and probably out party you. And they can definitely out score you on any kayak polo course on the planet. PL recaps a breath-taking world kayak polo championships, that saw the French win in overtime and the Great Britain gals dominate…
Held in China’s Kaohsiung International swimming pool, the finals kicked off with Great Britain taking on Germany in the women’s championships. Hasta luego, Germany. With three goals in the first five minutes, reigning champion Great Britain’s women took an unassailable lead early on, soaring to a 4-1 win. Led by Ginie Coyles, perhaps the world’s greatest women’s player, the GB team completely dominated the women’s tournament by winning all of their matches. GB star Prudence Blyth was the tournament’s top women’s goal scorer with 12 Goals and Chinese Taipei’s prolific goal scorer Lin Ya Ping was second with 11 goals.
For the men, it was France vs. The Nederlands in the finals. Conceding three goals in the first half of the men’s final looked enough to seal the match for the Nederlands and seal the fate of the French. But with typical French fortitude, the French squad executed a brilliant and spirited second half, seeing the final whistle blow with the scores even at 4 to 4. Less than a minute of sudden-death overtime saw the French go on to defeat the World Champions 5:4 and become World Games Champions. Top scorers in the tournament were Australian Anton Holmes with 9 goals, and Italy’s Luca Bellini and France’s Maxime Gophier into joint second place with 8.
“It was a great tournament,” says the ICF’s Paul Owen. “France topped the Men’s group with maximum points, but Spain was the surprise of the day, finishing theie berth in the tournament with a 1-1 against world finalists Italy. That shows how close the men’s competition was.”