City woman selected for world champs
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.