6-15 August 2015 - Castellon, Spain
UHA Welcomes home all athletes, coaches and supporters from the recent World championships in Spain and to all those continuing their journeys abroad, UHA wish you safe travels. To all those who competed: we are proud of you and we commend you.
Australia is left with mixed feelings after the recent Age group world championships held in Castellon, Spain from the 6-15 August. Firstly, Awe at the talent and commitment shown by our young athletes, excitement for their potential and thrill that that the next Age Group World Champs will be hosted on home soil in Hobart, Tasmania. These feelings are mixed with a sense of pride attached to our team’s outstanding efforts, and disappointment at a few almost wins.
This Aged Group World Championships was impressively competitive, with each division hosting a group of world-class teams. There were many draws during the round robin and several finals ended in overtime.
Australia arrived in Spain on Sunday the 2nd of August, with training beginning for most teams on Tuesday the 4th. These days of practice matches pre-tournament provided valuable preparation for the Australian sides, it allowed them the opportunity to adapt and adjust to the time difference and climate, and to re-familiarise themselves with their team mates who come from all across our vast nation.
The round robin began on Saturday 8 August. Each division had a single round robin, the U19 Men boasting the largest group of 1o teams. The U23 Men and Women, and U19 Women all had 8 countries represented. In total 12 countries attended this world championship.
Australia’s U19 Men and Women’s teams finished in 6 place. Both teams show exciting potential with commendable demonstrations of teamwork and skill in this high stakes tournament. The U19 Women have an average age of only 15, given their achievements in Spain, this is a team no doubt on their way to success. They demonstrated commitment, skills and determination in their overtime games against Canada and Spain on the final days of the tournament. They have all made us all very proud.
The U23 Women finished in 5 place at the end of the round robin, moving to 4th after defeating New Zealand in overtime 3-2 in the first of the knock out matches. Their Semi-final against Netherlands ended in a nail biting 4-3, leading them into a bronze medal play off against Great Britain where they were defeated 1-0. These close matches reflect the intensity of this competition and remind us of the difference a single goal can make.
Australia’s Medal bearers the U23 Men’s team finished the round robin undefeated, with a draw against Turkey. They pushed through each final to end in first place, meeting turkey in the Grand Final. The Turkish team where physically large with a remarkable presence on the bottom of the pool. Despite Australia’s best efforts to switch, to open the game up and to run around the Turkish giants, they were defeated 3-1 and bought home the Silver. Josh Mackenzie from West Australia finished the game with a remarkable breakaway goal.
In addition to the outstanding efforts of all the Australian athletes, there was a large supporter presence at this tournament, and UHA thanks all of the parents, supporters and coaches who travelled to Castellon, cheering from the stands for each match.
Importantly, UHA would like to give special thanks to Nick Stepokivitch the Physio and his team, and Sandra Millner, the Team Manager – without who our presence at competitions like this would simply not be possible.
Here’s to Hobart 2017!