Canoe Polo

The highlight of the 2017 season for the ICF Canoe Polo community was undoubtedly the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland – a World Championships in the discipline in all but name, and dominated once again by the teams from Germany.

Seven of the world’s best teams, both men’s and women’s, took part. In previous years it was a six-team competition, but an extra position was added for 2017.

It meant the top five countries in the men’s and women’s from the 2016 World Championships were all invited to attend, along with the host nation. The seventh team was the highest ranked non-European team from 2016’s world titles.

Germany flexed its canoe polo muscles on the final day of competition to successfully defend the men’s and women’s titles they won in Colombia four years ago.

The Germans could not have been more impressive, the women completely shutting out France to win 5-0, while the men were always in control in their 4-1 win over World Champions Italy, 4-1.

Spain won the bronze medal in the men’s competition, beating France 2-1, while Italy won a thriller 4-3 over New Zealand to claim the bronze in the women’s competition.

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The German women’s team turned up on ‘the final day very focused, having dropped two matches in the preliminary round to qualify third overall.

It was a different team that took to the Wroclaw pool in the finals. The Germans cruised past current World Champions New Zealand 6-1 to book their place in the gold medal match.

“We had a great day, we played perfect for us,” Germany’s Katharina Kruse said.

“This is our first year together as a team, there are five of us from the last World Games title.

“We didn’t really expect it, because we had some ups and downs in the tournaments before.

“But now we have won, so it is great.”

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It was more nail-biting for the men, who had to go into overtime to beat France 4-3 in the semi-finals, but still managed to go through the entire event unbeaten.

“It feels pretty amazing, because every team in the semi-finals is hard to win against,” German captain Jonas Vieran said.

“You have to fight, you have to give everything. You put so much into the sport, and if you win it’s just great.”

After playing just two matches on the opening day, the German men’s team had to navigate their way through four matches on Saturday.

Vieran said while it was rewarding to win back-to-back World Games, it’s fantastic for Germany to win both the men’s and women’s competitions.

“Yesterday was pretty exhausting because we had four matches, and we really felt it,” Vieran said.

“It’s like a new title again. The two times doesn’t matter too much. The women, they are the best team in the world during the past year, so they should win. It’s great to have both titles.”

2017 Magazine