Preparation starts for cycle sport tournament

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 08:46 31/01/2013
bike polo
SUPPLIED

PRACTICE RUN: Christchurch team member Craig Johnston is pursued by Timaru polo players Gareth Chambers, right, and Dave Whitaker, ahead of Timaru's Australasian hardcourt bike polo championships in March.

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Timaru is gearing up to host the Australasian hardcourt bike polo championships tournament from March 15 to 17.

Registration closes today for anyone interested in trying their polo skills at the Caroline Bay courts for a chance at qualifying for the world championships.

So far 34 teams have registered to compete in the three-day event, according to Sam Callander, Timaru's representative in the Australasian Hardcourt Bike Polo Association.

The organisation was formed in 2011 and this will be the first time New Zealand has hosted the championship tournament.

New Zealand and Australia are evenly represented among the registered participants, with other individuals travelling from as far as Berlin, London and San Francisco to play.

Only the top four teams from Australia and New Zealand could qualify for the world event, Mr Callander said.

Organisers had a practice run at the weekend, hosting a mini tournament to decide the South Island champion team.

Teams from Timaru, Christchurch and Dunedin took part, with Christchurch team Half a Chance taking the top spot.

Timaru teams finished third and fourth, while another Christchurch team took second place.

There was still a lot of work to be done to prepare Caroline Bay for the Australasian championships, Mr Callander said, including building one-metre-high wooden surrounds for additional courts to allow multiple matches to be played simultaneously.

Event organisers are still seeking sponsors to support the event.

Timaru was selected to host the event through a bid process.

Caroline Bay's scenic setting and close proximity to accommodation, the beach, and bars and restaurants made Timaru the ideal venue for the event, Mr Callander said.

"I'm kind of excited to show off Timaru.

"We can really put it on the map for bike polo in New Zealand."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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