Another Booth earns national colours
‘‘I’ve been inspired by my brothers, so the feeling was pretty overwhelming. ’’
The Booth boys are recognisable names in the tight-knit underwater hockey fraternity.
The youngest of the Plimmerton brood, Callum Booth, has, like his male siblings, just earned the right to play the sport for his country.
In 2015, Dylan Booth became a world champion after his under18 New Zealand side triumphed in Spain. Another brother Jamie made the national under-19 team in 2012.
Carrying on that tradition, 16-year-old Callum will join up with the national under-18 underwater hockey squad to tackle the Australians in a trans-Tasman test series in Hobart next month.
After working hard in the trials in Auckland, Callum, a goalie, said to get the call-up was a dream come true.
‘‘I’ve been inspired by my brothers, so the feeling was pretty overwhelming,’’ he said.
‘‘The trials were very competitive – there’s some really skilled players right across New Zealand, but I was just glad all my hard work paid off.’’
Playing goalie in underwater hockey takes some doing. Booth must be patient, choosing the right moments to swim down to defend his goal.
Making the wrong move could be fatal for his team’s chances, he said. ‘‘If you go in too quickly, it’s very easy to get out of position.’’
One of the youngest in the under-18 squad, Booth hoped mak- ing the team would be a springboard to further representative honours.
However, with year 13 studies at Hutt International Boys School next year, he isn’t sure of his attendance – if chosen – for the world championships.
Against Australia next month, the Kiwis will play two games each day for four days – a physical test for any underwater hockey player’s fitness.
And the water will be a lot colder than Booth is used to in New Zealand.
Booth began playing underwater six years ago. The constant training for his Phoenix club and extra work as a national rep was taxing – especially on top of his other sporting love, field hockey – but he could not imagine giving it away.
‘‘I love it, it’s incredibly fun and I’m grateful to be able to have the chance to represent my country.
‘‘Everyone in underwater hockey is really supportive and it’s been easy to develop friendships.’’
Callum Booth, from Plimmerton, has been chosen to represent New Zealand at underwater hockey. Callum Booth