Calgary canoe polo athlete 'ready to show the world what we've got'
'We're kind of the little fish in the big pond,' Christine Siddle says of her first World Games
A Calgary athlete is in Poland this week to compete in a high-level competition few have heard of — canoe polo.
Christie Siddle, a teacher with the Calgary Board of Education, started as a kayaker when she was working as a lifeguard. Now she's one of eight members on the all-Alberta national women's canoe polo team at the World Games.
"This is the first time that we've qualified to have a spot in the top seven teams in the world, to then make it to essentially the Olympics for our sport," Siddle said.
Canoe polo is played in kayaks with 10 players, who all wear body armour, face guards and helmets. Players use their hands or paddles to block, pass or shoot the water polo ball.
The sport originated in the 1970s in Great Britain, where paddling either canoes or kayaks is known as canoeing, Siddle said.
Only recently has canoe polo gained popularity more broadly, and it was recognized as sport with the World Games in 2005.
"The sport is growing in Canada," Siddle said. "Most of us have actually been playing together for quite a long time and have finally made it to our ultimate goal, the World Games."
'Little fish in a big pond'
When canoe polo arrived in Canada, Edmonton became the hub.
"We just have to believe in our training, have confidence in ourselves that we belong to be here," Siddle said.
"It's our first time, so we're kind of the little fish in the big pond. We've put in the time, we've put in the effort and we're ready to show the world what we've got."
Team Canada plays several more games on Saturday.
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener
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