Water polo star is our sport star

2016-10-18 09:09
Christine Abrahamse is the People’s Post Let’s Play Sport Star for September.

Christine Abrahamse is the People’s Post Let’s Play Sport Star for September. (Deon Lewis)

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She has been playing water polo since she was 12 years old. Now at age 18, Christine Abrahamse is part of the squad from which the team will be selected to take part in the 3rd Fina Women’s World Youth Championships and the Tri-Nations tournament in New Zealand in December.

Christine started playing water polo at the Wynberg Boys’ High School Water Polo Academy.

“As the youngest player and the only girl, with much nurturing and support from coach Bryan Punt, and her strong swimming background, she quickly became the standout player, holding her own amongst the boys and qualifying to play for Western Province u.13A the following year,” says her mother, Coralie.

“She played a positive role at the academy and encouraged girls from many different schools to join the academy, which now boasts a wealth of girls feeding into Wynberg Girls’ High School.”

In 2014 she moved to Westerford High School, where she is now in matric and being coached by Alex Hawkins.

“I have been able to make WP A teams from u.13 to u.16,” Christine says.

When she was eligible for selection for the u.17 team, she was part of the Tri-nations tournament that took place at the same time.

“I’m now part of the Fina Women’s World Youth Championships and Tri-Nations training squad. The tournament will take place in New Zealand in December.

“I’ve also made the WP u.18 squad for the interprovincial tournament in Durban, which takes place at the same time, so that’s a choice I’m going to have to make,” she says.

Christine says that it is a tough sport and requires swimming fitness, strength, endurance and the ability to read the game while fighting for the ball and making sure you get the ball to the goals.

“All this takes a monumental effort by the entire team.

“We train most days for two hours, plus game time for school and for club games plus morning swimming. I must confess that I don’t enjoy training because it is a continuous struggle, but coach Alex tries continuously to break that monotony.”

Christine says that Westerford has been a top performing water polo school for years now and also a school with a strong academic record.

“So the pressure is always on to do well academically as well. The team receives a lot of direct support from our head of water polo, Mrs Hanlie Mather. She constantly checks if we are coping with our school work.”

Christine also plays netball for the first team and says that she loves the sport, but that water polo takes up a lot of her time.

“Water polo is played throughout the year and you have to travel extensively, which makes it, unfortunately, a very expensive sport. I think this is the one thing which keeps this sport from growing even faster. Water polo is an exciting sport to watch and it is fast, aggressive and challenging,” she says.

Christine says she has been very fortunate to travel extensively through this sport.

“I’ve been to Zimbabwe twice for the African Confederation of Amateur Swimming (Cana) Tournament (u.17 in 2015 and u.18 this year) and we won on both occasions. We also travelled to Prague, Czech Republic for the EU Nations Tournament (u.17 in 2015) where we came second.

“I was also part of the South African ladies’ senior side (the only learner) this year that travelled to Gouda, Holland for the Olympic qualifiers where we played against the US and China amongst others. We didn’t do too well, but as an amateur team playing against professional teams we held our own and then some.

“This was followed by the Currie Cup in Durban, where I once again played for the senior ladies’ side and we brought home the gold.

“I was supposed to go to Prague in June, but just having been to Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, Johannesburg and Durban all in a space of five months my parents smiled and said: ‘Nope, you do have a matric year to finish.’ There is still New Zealand coming up in December and I am looking forward to it very much.”

Christine says that water polo desperately needs financial support and access to polo pools in order for it to grow to the level that they are capable of playing at.

What does the future hold for her? “I want to stay on the sports field and in the pool and one day hope to end up doing kinesiology. I also love coaching junior teams.”

You can nominate your sport star by email to ben.burger@media24.com. Clearly write the subject as Sport Star. You need to mention the achievements of the nominee in detail and the email should be shorter than 300 words. You can also include pictures. The decision of the judges is final. Every monthly winner receives a gift bag from Let’s Play and is automatically a finalist for the Sport Star of the Year.

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