The international canoe polo community finally gets to celebrate this week the return of the premiere competition on its global calendar – the 14th ICF senior and U21 World Championships.

The championships will be played at the first purpose-built canoe polo venue in the world, at St-Omer in France, with 27 nations entered including debutants Lithuania and Ukraine.

ICF canoe polo committee chair Greg Smale said there is a sense of anticipation ahead of Tuesday’s opening matches.

“The Covid pandemic has really caused some problems for polo, being a team sport its really impacted on people training, we’ve lost a few teams like Australia and Canada, which is really frustrating,” he said.

“But we’re here with lots of countries, all the continents, and we’re ready to go. The venue is in really good shape. The atmosphere here should be of friendship and welcoming and seeing old friends a lot, but also it’s a competition, at the end of the day it’s a world championships.”

Alongside canoe polo heavyweights Germany and France there will be teams from all corners of the globe, including Argentina, South Africa, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Joining Lithuania as the competition debutants will be a men’s team from Ukraine, who applied for a wild card last month.

“They drove more than 2000 miles to get here, they’ve arrived exhausted, but they want to play, they really want to play,” Smale said.

“I’m sure the French community and the supporters will be pleased to welcome them here.”

The six days of competition will be live streamed at, with more than 50 live sessions in place.

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