Two of the 12-man New Zealand roller hockey squad will carry the Whanganui flag into battle at the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona, Spain on July 7-13.

Veteran Dean Fitness and rapidly rising star Jimi Blinkhorne have been named in the list of senior men field players, while Carlon Barry, also from Whanganui, is one of two non-travelling reserves named by Roller Hockey New Zealand. The travelling players fly out on Monday.

The World Roller Games will feature more than 4000 athletes in action and will crown the world's best in 11 very diverse disciplines - alpine, artistic, roller freestyle, downhill, inline freestyle, inline hockey, rink hockey, roller derby, scooter, speed and skateboarding.

The last discipline is set to experience an extra special championship in Barcelona, given that it will also be a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.


The New Zealand roller hockey team will compete in the Rink Hockey Challenger's Championship competition in Terrassa, Spain and have drawn the men's Group A pool alongside Belgium, Chinese Taipei, Uruguay, Japan and group favourites Austria.

In his early 30s Fitness is a five-time veteran New Zealand player, while Blinkhorne is a three-time representative despite his tender age of 18.

Neither are strangers to international competition and Blinkhorne knows his way around Spain after attending a training camp in La Coruna in northwestern Spain in June, 2017.

The teenager immersed himself in a sport he is as passionate about as the Europeans. Blinkhorne is a rare talent in the sport and was named MVP of the Australia Day Cup tournament in Melbourne earlier this year after he and his Mordialloc team won the under-20 division of the Australian national club championships.

Blinkhorne made the step up to under-20 this season after being part of the Mordialloc team that won back-to-back under-17 Australia Day Cup titles in 2017 and 2018.

Blinkhorne was named MVP for the under-17s and also made his debut for Mordialloc's second senior men's team during the same tournament last year where he claimed the MVP title for that grade.

Being a tournament standout is nothing new for Blinkhorne.

The globetrotting skater achieved yet another medium-term goal after gaining selection to the New Zealand senior men's roller hockey team to play Australia in a transtasman contest in May last year. He won MVP for the under-17 division and the supreme sportsman award for all grades at that tournament in Gympie.


The pair know full well the World Games will be a massive step up.

"Our aim is to beat Japan and Chinese Taipei in our Group A competition, anything else will be a bonus," Fitness said.

"The Americans and many of the European sides, including Austria in our group, will field very strong teams and will be among the favourites to win the world title."

As a warm-up to the world competition, the New Zealand team has entered the Rink Hockey Tournoi International Blagnac in France.

This competition is a club side contest between HC Rega & Bofe from Portugal, Spanish club sides Alpicat and Saint Celoni and hosts the Blagnac Sporting Club from France.

"It will be a strong warm-up competition for us," Blinkhorne said.

"While they are club sides it will be just like playing an international for us. They'll probably smoke us, but it's good preparation for the world contest."