Team Germany Men’s Canoe Polo - Nominee for the 2018 Team Award
Represents: Germany, Sport: Canoe Polo, Captain: Jonas Vieren, Coach: Bjorn Zirotzki
Julian Precher, Dennis Witt, Lennart Unterfeld, Lukas Richter, Jonas Gauselmann, Robert Pest, Jonas Vieren, Marco Hoppstock
- Gold medal at the 2018 ICF Canoe Polo World Championships, Welland, Canada
- 4th in 2016 World Canoe Polo Championships, Siracusa, Italy
- In the 13 worlds since the inaugural event in Sheffield, England, the German senior men have earned five silver, three bronze and one gold medal since inaugural worlds in Sheffield, England
Given their dominance in the sport, it’s quite surprising that the men’s German team this year won their first World Champion title ever in the 24-year history of Canoe Polo World Championships. More surprising perhaps, is the fact that they pulled out the win in the midst of intense emotional turmoil following the sudden death of teammate Fiete Junge on the eve of the competition.
German captain Jonas Vieren said his team was under enormous pressure, after winning no fewer than five silver medals at previous world championships, while also dealing with the emotional circumstances of the Welland final. But he said those pressures also spurred the team on. “We’ve been fighting hard for this for several years,” he said. We had won all the other championships, but we could never win this one. It was a tough time, but the team came closer together. We just tried to play polo here, and paddle for him [Fiete] as well, and it was enough to win the World Championships.”
The Germans immediately dedicated the win to Fiete, a 26-year-old law student struck down by meningitis shortly before the championships.
Germany has become a hotbed for a discipline that is campaigning to become a demonstration at an upcoming Summer Olympics. In the 13 worlds since the inaugural event in Sheffield, England, the German senior men have earned five silver medals, three bronze and, now, one gold.
“We are not a team of superstars, we are a superstar team. The last time we met with Fiete we talked about how we wanted to be world champions. He would say all the time, ‘hey guys, let’s do this’, so we did it for Fiete, we did it for us, we did it for the team — Coach Bjorn Zirotzki, German Men’s Canoe Polo Team.
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