Sonja Krueger: Dutch Delight

by | Sep 11, 2006

Following their exceptional progress in a sport that does not gather much national exposure, captain of the SA Ladies Canoe Polo Team, Sonja Krueger, wrote to gsport … for Girls! to share her account of her team’s success at the 7th World Canoe Polo Championships.

The South African Ladies canoe polo team has just returned from Amsterdam, Netherlands, after competing in the 7th World Canoe Polo Championship.

The ladies team achieved 18th place after playing eight grueling games during the four day championship held from 10th to 13th August 2006.


Although not as high a ranking as we had hoped for, it was an improvement in the team’s ranking and for the first time ever, we are ranked higher than the South African Men’s team!

The ladies team comprised seven players of which four had never competed in a World Championship event, and for two of the players, it was the first competitive ladies team they had ever played in.

Considering the odds, the results were not at all disappointing. The first two games we played were against Great Britain and Italy, both ranked amongst the top five teams in the world.

We played a very defensive game and tried to keep the goal difference as low as possible.

The skill and strength of these ladies was a surprise to all. For the remainder of the games, we managed to keep the goal difference very low and were narrowly beaten by Canada and Sweden by only two goals and Belgium by three goals.

We had two really enjoyable games against Singapore, beating them both times. We also beat Czechoslovakia by four goals- our greatest achievement during the tournament.

The biggest disadvantage we have as a South African team is that we only compete at an international level every two years and at the moment have no other competitive ladies in the country to compete against.

Our only option is to practice playing against the South African men, a daunting task in a sport that is very physical, and involves a lot of aggressive contact between teams.

The team and coach gained invaluable experience by competing in a tournament held in Belgium, the weekend before the World Championship event.

It was great being exposed to an international level of competition before the actual World Championship, something most other European teams experience on a monthly basis.

Our level of play certainly increased with every game played over the weekend and everyone got a taste of BMT- big match temperament!.

Canoe polo is a fast game which requires considerable boat, paddle and ball skills as well as speed, strength and endurance.

The team put in many long and hard hours on the water and in the gym for months before the tournament working on team strategies, individual skills as well as fitness and strength training.

The dedication of the individuals and the coach was admirable, and it is this dedication together with the experience the team gained at the World Championship, that will make them more competitive in 2008 in Canada.

However we need more competitive ladies in this sport and are committed to developing the sport amongst ladies so if you are interested in trying this fun team sport then please contact coach Peter Zietsman: [email protected]

Thanks you Sonja, for sending this story of your teams’ success in Amsterdam to gsport … for Girls! You are an inspiring example of South African women turning their aspirations into reality!

Ladies: Send us a story of your involvement in sport! Mail [email protected], and become a part of the women’s inspiration in sport, proudly sweeping our nation.


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Launched in 2006, gsport exists to enhance the commercial prospects of our women athletes, and other women in sport, by telling the inspiring story of SA women in sport. Thank you for your contribution!

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