The underwater Hockings
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.