An­other Booth earns na­tional colours

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

‘‘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

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