2018 was a big year for British Canoe Polo:
It’s hard not to start with the strong performances of our international sides throughout the season culminating with the amazing achievements of our Senior Women claiming the Silver medal and the U21 Men re-claiming the World Championship out in Canada! ???? Our referees were also recognized with Elan selected to referee the Men’s final.
Closer to home the National Leagues completed with Kingston Kayak Club and Friends of Allonby claiming the titles (Open and Women’s league respectively). Friends of Allonby, Meridian and Ulster Canoe Polo triumphed at the National Club Championships at the Home Venue (Open, Women’s and Youth leagues).
At a grassroots level, there have been major initiatives flourishing: The Development Academy continues to grow from strength to strength and was outlined as a clear pathway to future international selection. It’s impossible not to notice the impact these youth players are having returning to their club sides with new skills and a focused training mentality. The second tier of the Women’s league removed “Development” from the title to become Division 2 North and South with a record 15 entries! This would not have been possible without the dedication of league organisers over the years to generate stability, promote inclusion and make these leagues a full-time reality. Across the whole national league, a significant restructure was rolled out by League Organisers to help decrease travel, improve value and make the leagues sustainable. The regional leagues continue to grow with the Welsh League reforming and the South East league running with 3 divisions after only a few years.
Finally, the highlight of the year has to be the European Club Championships hosted in Nottingham. It has been a long time since a major international canoe polo event was held in the UK and took months of careful planning. All the volunteers, sponsors, supporters and of course athletes should be immensely proud of the event we held. The cherry on top was the success of both Friends of Allonby sides: the Men taking Silver and the Women taking the title! ?
In 2019 the focus will shift to a new 4-year cycle of growth for our international sides before the European Championships. The national and regional leagues are back with a bang in January with >25 tournaments being held. Over in Northern Ireland, the Junior International Championships returns, a fantastic initiative to drive Youth growth.
Thank you for your support this year! We are always looking for volunteers to help run and develop our sport, please get in touch.