Thousands expected for big schools event in Bay
This annual event is the most celebrated provincial schools sports tournament in the country and is considered the largest aquatics event in Africa.
The event will feature a total of 2 200 participants, with an additional 4 000 to 5 000 travelling family members and spectators expected this year.
The tournament will see boys’ and girls’ age groups from U13 to U19 competing over the five-day event.
“We are very excited to be hosting over 110 teams to showcase what our beautiful schools have to offer,” Nelson Mandela Bay Water Polo chairman Chris King said.
“We are also happy to be taking water polo back to Uitenhage after many years.”
For the first time, there will be a digital application that will show photographs and live updated results.
In an attempt to bring about more sustainability to the sport, Schools Water Polo South Africa has embarked on a three-year partnership with Carrick Wealth to support the interprovincial tournament, as well as establishing a fund to assist with the continuity of the sport.
“Water polo is a unique school sport where boys and girls participate as equals,” Carrick Wealth director Kieron McRae said.
“It is a sport that takes place in a tough and uncompromising environment.
“Dedication, commitment, discipline and professional management can bring success in the sport because these are values that we identify with. Our support of the annual interprovincial tournament will raise the profile of the largest age-group water polo event in the southern hemisphere, and our water polo fund will assist in growing the game to prospects outside the traditional schools,” he said.
National Schools Water Polo chairman Richard Irvine said: “Many of our schools do not have the luxury of polo-ready swimming pools and so we have to be more creative in how we grow the numbers of players.
“In other provinces, we bring players to schools that have pools where they have started initiatives at municipal indoor pools.
“Water polo is a great sport for boys and girls alike because it equips the person with a basic life skill.
“It is as competitive as any other team sport and players can continue for years after school.”