Canoe polo
Highest governing bodyInternational Canoe Federation
Presence
OlympicNo
World Games2005 – present
Warm-up of the Italian national team during the European Canoe Polo Championship 2013
Warm-up of the Italian national team during the European Canoe Polo Championship 2013

Canoe polo, also known as kayak polo, is one of the competitive disciplines of kayaking, known simply as "polo" by its aficionados.

Each team has five players on the pitch (and up to three substitutes), who compete to score in their opponent's goal, which is suspended two metres above the water. The ball can be thrown by hand, or flicked with the paddle to pass between players and shoot at the goal. Pitches can be set up in swimming pools or any stretch of flat water, which should measure 35 meters by 23 meters.

Kayak polo combines boating and ball handling skills with a contact team game, where tactics and positional play are as important as the speed and fitness of the individual athletes. The game requires excellent teamwork and promotes both general canoeing skills and a range of other techniques unique to the sport.

The kayaks are specifically designed for polo and are faster and lighter than typical kayaks which give them superior maneuverability. The blades of a polo paddle have thick rounded edges to prevent injury. Paddles are also very lightweight and designed with both pulling power and ball control in mind. Nose and tail boat bumpers, body protection, helmets and face-guards are all compulsory.

In International Canoe Federation nomenclature used in some European countries, chiefly the United Kingdom, the term canoe can refer to a kayak too.[1] The boats in this game are paddled with a double-bladed paddle and are called "kayaks".

History

The birth of the modern sport could be considered to be the demonstration event held at the National Canoe Exhibition at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London, in 1970.

In response to the interest created at the Crystal Palace event, the first National Canoe Polo subcommittee of the British Canoe Union was formed, and it was this committee that developed the modern framework of the game. The National Championships were held every year at the National Canoe Exhibition, and this activity led on to the inclusion of Canoe Polo in the demonstration games at Duisburg, Germany in 1987.[2]

In India, Canoe Polo was initiated by the University of Kashmir, Srinagar in 2008 when the University Aquatics Coach Muhammad Yusuf conducted an promotional match between University of Kashmir and Islamia College on the waters of Nigeen Lake in Srinagar.[citation needed] Later this event was included in annual water sports calendar of the university. The J&K Water Sports Association is also promoting this sport in Jammu and Kashmir at a larger scale.[citation needed]

Features

The game is now played in many countries throughout all inhabited continents, for recreation and serious sport. The sport has World Championships every two years and European, Asian, African, and PanAmerican Continental Championships held every year in between World Championship years. Internationally the sport is organized by the Canoe Polo committee of the International Canoe Federation, as one of the disciplines of the sport of canoeing.

Finnish canoe polo championships, Lahti, Finland, 2010
Finnish canoe polo championships, Lahti, Finland, 2010
Practicing on the River Cam, England, 2004
Practicing on the River Cam, England, 2004

The game is often described as a combination of water polo, basketball and kayaking. The tactics and playing of the game are not unlike basketball or water polo but with the added complexity of the boats, which can be used to tackle an opposition player in possession of the ball, or jostle for position within 6 meters of the goal.

Officials

There are two referees (one on each side-line) and they are on foot rather than in boats. The score is kept by the scorekeeper and the timekeeper monitors the playing time and sending-off times. The goal lines are monitored by two line judges. Before play commences scrutineers check all kit for compliance with regulations.

Pitch

Canoe polo is played either indoors in swimming pools or outdoors on a pitch which should measure 35 meters by 23 meters.[3] The boundaries of the pitch are ideally marked using floating ropes (similar to lane markers in swimming), although for smaller venues the edges of the pool are frequently used.

The area approximately 6 meters in front of each the goal can be defined as the Zone. This area is where defending players create formations to defend the goal from attackers.

Timing

The game is officially played as a 14- to 20-minute game consisting of two 7- to 10-minute halves. The teams change ends at the half-time period, which is 1 to 3 minutes long.[4] Each half begins with a "sprint" where each team lines up against its goal-line and the ball is thrown into the middle of the pitch by the referee. One player from each team sprints to win possession of the ball.

Shot clock

A shot clock may be used to speed up the game. The attacking team have 60 seconds to have a shot on the goal or they lose possession. The shot clock is reset when the ball is intercepted by the opposing team or the attacking team loses possession. The shot clock is a recent addition to the rules, and due to the expense and complexity of the equipment is not used universally.

Tactics

There are several attacking and defensive tactics all with different variations.

Offensive

Defensive

Fouls

Most of the rules concern the safety of the players involved or are designed to keep the game fast-paced and exciting to play and watch.

Three general principles can be applied when determining the severity of a foul.

Deliberate foul – A foul where no effort was made to avoid the illegal play. Any deliberate foul should receive a minimum of a green card- either immediately or at the next break in play if playing advantage.

Dangerous foul – Is significant contact with the opponent's arm, head or body that may result in personal injury and is illegal.

Significant contact – Any high impact or continuous contact, that may result in equipment damage or personal injury.

Equipment

Water polo balls: old (left) and new designs.

Specialized equipment is needed to play Canoe polo. Items required are:

ICF Canoe Polo at the World Games

Main article: ICF Canoe Polo World Championships

Men

Year Host Gold Silver Bronze
2005 Germany
Duisburg,
Germany
Netherlands
Netherlands
Germany
Germany
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
2009 Taiwan
Kaohsiung,
Taiwan
France
France
Netherlands
Netherlands
Australia
Australia
2013 Colombia
Cali,
Colombia
Germany
Germany
France
France
Italy
Italy
2017 Poland
Wroclaw,
Poland
Germany
Germany
Italy
Italy
Spain
Spain

Women

Year Host Gold Silver Bronze
2005 Germany
Duisburg,
Germany
Germany
Germany
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Japan
Japan
2009 Taiwan
Kaohsiung,
Taiwan
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Germany
Germany
France
France
2013 Colombia
Cali,
Colombia
Germany
Germany
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
France
France
2017 Poland
Wroclaw,
Poland
Germany
Germany
France
France
Italy
Italy

See also

References

  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Canoe" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Beasley, Ian (2009). "Boat, Paddle and Ball: a short history of canoe polo" (PDF). Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  3. ^ ICF field diagram. canoeicf.com Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ ICF Rules Archived 2013-10-18 at the Wayback Machine. canoeicf.com

Governing bodies