HELLENIC Academy will next month host a high-profile water polo training camp to be conducted by well-respected coaches from European giants Olympiacos from Greece and a top player from Australia in what should be a massive boost for the sport in the country.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Harare-based school, which enjoyed a very successful domestic season, announced that two Olympiacos club coaches, Chatzidakis Konstantinos and Setergios Torosiadis and Australian national goalkeeper Elysha O’Neill, would be hosting a training camp at Hellenic from January 4-7.
The duo of Konstantinos and Torosiadis are part of the Olympiacos club — one of the most successful teams in Europe, having won the LEN Champions League, the LEN Super Cup and the Triple Crown in 2002.
Olympiacos is also the first club ever in water polo to win four out of four competitions in a single year, thus completing the quadruple, comprising the aforementioned Triple Crown.
Australian national team goalkeeper O’Neill, who is also coach of the Zimbabwe under-14 girls’ team currently underway in South Africa, will also add some international experience to the training camp.
Hellenic Academy sports director Liam Middleton said the high-profile training camp — which came about due to the schools’ strong links with Greece — is expected to go a long way in improving the standards of water polo in the country.
“We obviously have a strong Greek culture at the school and we noticed that water polo in Greece is of quite a high standard and they’re excelling in European and the World Championships,” Middleton said.
“Water polo is quite a popular sport in Zimbabwe and as a school, we want to help the sport grow in the country not just in our school so that’s why we came up with this initiative. The idea was to link up with that Greek heritage, but also to bring out two of their top coaches, who we think will add a lot of value not only to our local players but coaches as well,” said the celebrated Zimbabwe rugby coach.
Hellenic Academy have been quietly establishing themselves as a powerhouse in local schools water polo over the last few years and underlined their gradual rise by winning the Hippo Trophy, the second tier water polo competition for co-ed schools in local schools water polo.
The school, which was founded by the local Greek community in 2008, also boasts of considerable representation in the 10 Zimbabwe national junior teams selected for the end of year tour of South Africa which started on Friday.
Hellenic’s sister schools, St. John’s College and Chisipite Senior School, contributed a record 60 swimmers between them into the Zimbabwe youth water polo squads to the tour which ends on Tuesday.