THE HORSEBALL U-16 World Cup team is in the Whitsundays training hard for this year’s World Cup.
Despite all the challenges, the team is ready to compete at the World Cup, in Saint-Lo France, on August 15, 2022, in Horseball, described as ‘a cross between basketball and rugby’ on horseback.
It has been a long-awaited moment for Linda Gray, coach of the Queensland horseball team, as she has been preparing for the Horseball World Cup since 2019.
Initially, a team was ready to compete at the World Cup in 2020 but, unfortunately, the tournament was canceled due to COVID.
As a consequence, Linda had to select a new team, as the previous U-16 team selected had grown too old for the coming world cup.
“The ones that were in the original team were then too old. We have now got an entirely new team, except for one player, and they haven’t been playing together for that very long at all,” Ms Gray said.
Two of the players for the new team are from the Whitsundays, one is from Mackay, while the rest live in NSW, which can make training challenging sometimes.
With a combination of land training in the Whitsundays and online sessions, however, the team is managing well.
“We do training sessions over Facebook messenger, where the kids get physical challenges each week,” Ms Gray said.
Linda said Horseball was a cross between ‘basketball and rugby’ on horseback, which, of course, requires great skill and knowledge of horse riding.
While the entire team will fly to France, their horses will stay back home, which can sometimes be a challenging part of the discipline.
“We would hire horses in France, horses that are training. The players will have one to two hour training sessions with the horses….it’s quite a disadvantage for teams that are from abroad and it’s a bit of a challenge,” Ms Gray said.
The team has been raising money for several months and is grateful for the support the community has given them.
As the date for the World Cup is rapidly approaching, they still welcome more contributions for the U-16 Horseball team representing Australia in the World Cup.