Despite not having any local canoe polo teams, Oamaru has managed to secure hosting rights for the South Island secondary schools canoe polo championships for the sixth year in a row.
From August 13 to 15, about 260 canoe polo players from Nelson to Invercargill will converge on the Waitaki Aquatic Centre for the 2021 championships.
Oamaru’s central location in the South Island was appealing, and the town ticked plenty of boxes for organisers, aquatic centre manager Matthew Lanyon said.
“We have been working closely with organisers over a number of months to again bring this event to Oamaru,” he said.
“They like how we work, we like how they work . . . and I think they like coming to Oamaru.
“It’s really nice to have them come back.”
Covid-19 impacted entry numbers at last year’s event. This year, 26 teams were competing and organisers had booked about 25% more pool time.
Hosting the championships brought “significant” economic benefit to Oamaru and surrounding districts, Mr Lanyon said.
There were more than 3000 visits recorded at the Oamaru pool during last year’s competition, and he expected about 4000 this year.
There was no charge for spectators and it was a “great opportunity for people to come and see a sport that is not often seen outside main centres”, he said.
The main pool will be closed from 1pm on August 13 to 4pm on August 15, but the children’s pool and spa pool will remain open.