Edmonton will host the world again

JASON HILLS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

Edmonton has a great reputation of hosting sports on the world stage, now they can add another one to the list.

The 2008 Canoe Polo World Championships will be coming to Edmonton next July.

A relatively new sport to Canada, organizers are hosting a Pre-World Canoe Polo tournament this weekend at Hawrelak Park.

"We have four teams with players from Alberta, B.C. and the United States here to try out the venue and go through a lot of the motions for when we host the big event next year," said organizing committee member Barbara Allan.

"We are hoping to have at least 25 countries represented. We have a men's and women's division as well as a under-21 men's division."

France, South Africa, New Zealand, Austrailia and Japan have already expressed interest in coming to Edmonton.

This sport is a combination of water polo, basketball and hockey and is very popular in Europe.

It's played in kayaks using a water polo ball.

There are nets suspended two metres above the water at each end of the pitch.

A team can move the ball around by passing or dribbling the ball.

Fouls can be called if a paddle hits an opponents arm while they are taking a shot on net.

"The players get rough with each other," said Allan.

19-year-old Adrian Bonin will be part of the U-21 team. He has been playing canoe polo since 2001.

"Most of our team has been together since 2001 so we've been able to grow together," said Bonin.

"Our best finish was fifth (2001 in Japan). We have our sights set on a medal, hopefully it's gold."


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