The seventh annual competition pits the kings of Segway skills from all over the world against one another, with the final due to be held at Zinkensdamm IP on June 10th.
Stockholm Segway Polo Club Chairman Alexander van Riesen was in a buoyant mood with the tournament in full flow. He gave the low-down on what exactly spectators can expect from the biggest showcase on the Segway polo calendar:
“Segway polo is a little like a combination between horse polo and ice hockey, but with five players on each team,” van Riesen told The Local.
“It’s a new, exciting, intense sport that everyone can enjoy and it’s very similar to other action sports.”
“This is the biggest Segway polo championships there have been, with 16 teams from across the world, including Austria, Lebanon and Finland, competing for the title.”
Both men and women can compete on the same team in the sport, and indeed females have just as much ability to succeed in the Segway polo arena, particularly because every vehicle that is being used by competitors travels at the same speed.
“Moving on devices that can travel at a maximum of 20 km per hour means females can be equally as talented as the men. You need to be at one with the Segway, dynamic and have good tactical awareness to succeed on the pitch,” van Riesen said.
“It’s a little bit like squash in a sense, as you have to react to lightning quick ball movements and you need to be aware and on top of your game at all times.”
“There is a gentlemanly code of conduct and though incidents do occur, Segway polo is a relatively safe sport to take part in.”
Sweden will be proudly represented at the competition by three sides from the Stockholm Segway polo Club – Stockholm Saints, Stockholm Vikings and Blue Saints. Organisers are hoping that hosting the tournament will provide a platform for Segway polo to develop its growing popularity in Scandinavia.
Stockholm submitted their bid to host the championships last year. The event coincides with the celebration of 100 years since the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, and this was something bosses were looking to target, according to van Riesen.
“The host used to be decided in a Eurovision-type style with the winner hosting the following year’s tournament, but this was scrapped a couple of years ago.”
“We applied to host this year’s championships to celebrate 100 years since the Stockholm Olympics – the most well-organised and best prepared Olympics there was. We are looking to replicate this in the organisation and running of the World Segway Championships.”
Van Riesen remains confident about the chances of the teams from Stockholm, but insists that hosting and organising a masterpiece sporting event is the top priority.
“Our first and primary goal is to organise a world-class event and for all the competitors to enjoy being in Stockholm. The aim for our teams, though, is to come in the top three. The two sides from Germany will be the ones to watch and are the top seeds, but as in any sport, every team can upset the odds.”
The Segway was first developed in 2001, and operates through the shift of the driver’s weight on the standing platform’s centre of mass. When it was first launched, engineers lauded the device as a future revolution in city transportation.
Last year’s competition in Falsom, California, saw Solingen Blade Pirates emerge victorious in a 1-0 victory in the final over Barbados Flyin’ Fish.