What Katie does best

By Gary Caffell

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Canoe polo

Chanel College pupil Katie Craig loves her sport.

The 16-year-old has dabbled successfully in athletics, basketball, swimming, football and dragon boat racing but, when it comes to the "ultimate", canoe polo is at the top of the list.

Introduced to this sport four years ago, Craig has made a huge impact, first for Chanel College in the local league and then for the Wairarapa Paddlers at national level.

Last year, she was part of the Central under-21 women's team who won the gold medal at the national inter-regional championships and, just recently, she was named in the New Zealand under-21 women's squad to contest the Oceania championships in Christchurch next month.

Selection in that squad came after trials in Palmerston North where Craig was the second-youngest player involved and she admitted to being more hopeful than optimistic about her chances of making the side.

"I tried not to think about it too much, I just went out there and did the best I could," she said.

Ask Craig what attracts her most about canoe polo and the answer is quick: "It can get quite rough, I like that. The more aggressive you need to be the better it is. And it's fast, turnovers can happen at any time and you have to be ready for them. It's good fun."

Craig now has her sights on representing New Zealand under-21s at the next world championships in France and she knows strong performances at the Oceania tournament will be a huge assist in that regard. "It's a big chance to impress, hopefully I'm good enough to take it."


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