Our goal is to take water polo to more communities across Queensland and over the past couple of months we’ve been travelling to Cairns to get the sport back up and running. The response has been fantastic and inspired Jesse O’Hara to help re-establish water polo in Far North Queensland.
We caught up with Jesse to find out what motivated him to take the plunge and organise water polo in Cairns. There was a great turn out during the last two Come and Try sessions, which Mel ran the other week. How did you get involved with water polo in Cairns?
“I guess like most people here in Cairns, I’ve always been interested in water polo. Everyone has kept an ear out and been waiting for someone to organise some sort of competition or training but it never happened.”
So why did you decide now was the time to bring water polo back to Cairns?
“Well I’ve been in Cairns for a while now and Bronwen’s visit in September really sparked my interest. When I saw that Mel was coming up for a couple of Come and Try events, I thought this was the perfect time to start organising something. We could piggyback off the visit, generate some media interest and take it from there.”
You’ve only been involved for a couple of weeks, that’s impressive! Were you involved with water polo much before this?
“When I was living in Tasmania, I played a lot of water polo. I played National League for two seasons with the Hobart Hammerheads. I also played in the Australian youth team in 2004-05 and overseas in California for San Diego State University for a couple of seasons as well.”
You’ve been involved with the sport for a while then, is this just another way of being involved in the sport?
“Yeah, I’ve always had an interest in sports administration and I’m keen to get Cairns Water Polo underway. It’s been a busy couple of weeks but I’ve managed to meet with a couple of local groups who have been playing socially and link them together, creating a bit of a network and starting to formalise the process a little.”
What’s next for Cairns Water Polo?
“The first thing is to form an association, which involves a couple of meetings with Cairns City Council and working with WPQ to formalise that process. You know, constitutions, policies and procedures and getting support from WPQ with all that administration stuff. Then it’s registering as an association and attaching a club to the association so we can grow in the future.
I’ve also established a Facebook group and have been sending out regular communications about training on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s with the aim of increasing those once we have the capacity to do so. Things have been happening pretty quickly, which is good.”
The Queensland Country Championships are just around the corner, will you be entering a team into the competition?
“Yeah, for sure, that’s the short-term goal. It’s good to have a tangible goal, which is coming up fairly soon but if we can enter a team, Men’s, Women’s or both that would be fantastic, especially for such a new club. The next couple of weeks will be key to that.”
And in the long-term, what are your goals?
“Getting more juniors involved, that will be the main focus. We’ve had a good response from a couple of schools but the junior programme will need a lot of attention as that will be the only way to grow the sport.”