The un­der­wa­ter Hock­ings

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

The Hock­ing fam­ily of Pare­mata will score a rare tre­ble when three sib­lings travel to Hun­gary next month to rep­re­sent New Zealand at un­der­wa­ter hockey.

Jesse, 24, and Jake, 26, will be in the se­nior men’s team and their sis­ter Elle, 21, in the women’s lineup. All three at­tended Pau­ata­hanui School.

The fact he would be at­tend­ing with his two sib­lings and have his par­ents along to watch would make it a spe­cial fam­ily oc­ca­sion, said Jesse Hock­ing.

His mother cap­tained New Zealand in un­der­wa­ter hockey, and his fa­ther was also a top player.

Hock­ing, who cur­rently works in Auck­land, cer­tainly deserves any suc­cess that comes his way.

He has been train­ing 12 hours a week since Septem­ber, with late nights, early starts and min­i­mal so­cial life.

He said he could hardly wait to head to Hun­gary.

‘‘It’s my first world champs, so it’s huge for me. For a long time, Jake and I thought we were com­pet­ing for the same spot in the national side, so we’re pretty chuffed about both mak­ing it.

‘‘We have played to­gether for years and couldn’t be­lieve it when we both got the nod for New Zealand.

‘‘It’s al­ways been a fam­ily af­fair. We grew up play­ing un­der­wa­ter hockey – peo­ple call us the Un­der­wa­ter Hock­ings.’’

Aus­tralia would be tough to beat in Hun­gary, and South Africa, France and ‘‘ emerg­ing na­tions’’ such as Colom­bia and Spain would be danger­ous, he said.

New Zealand were tak­ing men’s and women’s teams in the un­der19, un­der-23 and open grades and fan­cied their chances, Hock­ing said.

This will be one of the big­gest world champs ever, with more than 1200 com­peti­tors from 18 coun­tries.

‘‘We have a re­ally good pres­ence and re­ally high ex­pec­ta­tions. It is one of the so-called mi­nor sports here, but we’ve tra­di­tion­ally done well.

‘‘There’s a strong scene at school and club level, and that gives us an ad­van­tage when we play in­ter­na­tion­ally – so many of the guys who pi­o­neered the sport here are still go­ing.’’

The New Zealand play­ers are pri­mar­ily fund­ing their own way to Hun­gary, al­though Hock­ing said as­sis­tance from Mana Com­mu­nity grants has been ap­pre­ci­ated.

The Hock­ings are fundrais­ing as well – go to hock­ings- to­hun­gary.wee­bly.com.

Sink­ing feel­ing: The lung ca­pac­ity re­quired for, from left, Jesse, Elle and Jake Hock­ing to com­pete in their cho­sen sport takes years to de­velop.

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