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Unstoppable on the Water: The Inspiring Journey of Mia Verster



Mia Verster plays canoe polo

Mia Verster, a 16-year-old from Alberton, has been captivated by canoe polo since she first encountered it in January 2022. Her passion for the sport led her all the way to Belfast, Ireland, where she recently participated in the Canoe Polo Junior International Championships from July 27 to 30. As a Canoe Polo SA U/18 girl’s team member, she joined forces with seven other teammates to compete against teams from all around the world at the innovative Let’s Go Hydro water park resort in Northern Ireland.

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The Canoe Polo Junior International Championships, held every two years, attract up to 80 teams from different corners of the globe to compete fiercely against each other in this adrenaline-pumping sport.

Mia’s journey in canoe polo began when her current coach, Niel Burger, shared a promotional video about an event at Dabulamanzi Canoe Club (Dabs). Despite having no prior paddling experience, she passionately convinced her parents that the sport was smooth, and her determination paid off. Since joining the club and enrolling in Adrenaline Coaching, Mia’s life has revolved around canoe polo, with rigorous training sessions four times a week, even in the icy waters of winter. For Mia, this sport is not a chore; it has become an irresistible passion, so much so that she aspires to become a canoe polo coach in the future.

Now, let’s delve into the exciting world of canoe polo. It is a ball game featuring two teams of five players each, played on a rectangular pitch measuring 23 meters by 35 meters. The pitch is equipped with two goals, 2 meters above the water, on either side. The players engage in fast-paced action, using a paddle, canoe, water polo ball, helmet with a grid, and a life jacket. The game starts when the referee throws the ball into the middle of the pitch, and players from each team compete to reach the ball first by paddling with full force. The unpredictability of the game, combining elements from sports like water polo, canoeing, netball, and football, makes canoe polo a thrilling and captivating sport to watch.


Mia Verster’s inspiring journey in canoe polo serves as a testament to the sport’s allure and the dedication of young athletes to pursue their passions on an international stage.

Source: Nothing stops Mia Verster when she is on the water

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Photo: Supplied by Northcliff Melville Times

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