City woman se­lected for world champs

The Southland Times - - NEWS - JAMIE SEARLE

A goal Klara Richter set two years ago was ac­com­plished re­cently when she was named in the New Zealand un­der-21 women’s ca­noe polo team to com­pete at the world cham­pi­onships.

Richter is the only South Is­lan­der in the seven-strong team head­ing to the cham­pi­onships in Canada be­tween July 31 and Au­gust 5.

The In­ver­cargill woman said to be se­lected was im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing, as well as an hon­our to rep­re­sent New Zealand.

‘‘I was in shock [when told] ... it didn’t sink in for a while.

‘‘It’s been a long process and quite ex­cit­ing.’’

The 20-year-old has taken a year off study at Otago Uni­ver­sity to move to Christchurch to con­cen­trate on ca­noe polo.

In the past year, she im­pressed se­lec­tors at train­ing camps and tour­na­ments at Otaki and Palmer­ston North.

Richter was vice-cap­tain for the New Zealand un­der-21 A team at the Ocea­nia cham­pi­onships in Palmer­ston North last year. The team won its grade and fin­ished sec­ond in the women’s open com­pe­ti­tion.

The South­lander, and oth­ers in the na­tional team, will have two more train­ing camps and play in three tour­na­ments be­fore leav­ing for the world cham­pi­onships. One of the tour­na­ments is a men’s com­pe­ti­tion. Mix­ing it with men doesn’t worry her. ‘‘I’m kind of use to it ... I’ve played for a men’s team in Dunedin.’’

Richter is a mem­ber of two ca­noe polo clubs - Burn­side [Christchurch] and Southern [Dunedin]. Her own train­ing for the world cham­pi­onships is in­ten­si­fy­ing with six or seven days a week spent at a gym or in a pool - two or three hours daily.

She will have to pay all her ex­penses on the Cana­dian trip be­cause there is no fund­ing avail­able from Ca­noe Polo New Zealand. The or­gan­i­sa­tion is not recog­nised as an elite sport in New Zealand and does not re­ceive na­tional sport fund­ing.

Richter started play­ing ca­noe polo at James Hargest Col­lege five years ago af­ter notic­ing the fun her brother Paul was hav­ing in the sport.

‘‘I like be­ing part of a team [com­pet­ing] ... the ag­gres­sive­ness is good.’’

Richter in­tends to re­turn to uni­ver­sity next year to com­plete qual­i­fi­ca­tions to be a phys­io­ther­a­pist.

Klara Richter feels priv­i­leged to be rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand at a ca­noe polo world cham­pi­onship event in Canada in July-Au­gust.

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