Dodge, duck, dip, dive: National dodgeball team tryouts hit Halifax

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Dodge, duck, dip, dive: National dodgeball team tryouts hit Halifax

Canada's top dodgeball athletes are at Saint Mary's University in Halifax competing in a tournament for spots on the national team.

"We have a men's team looking to defend a gold medal and a women's team looking to capture a gold and recoup from their silver medal loss this year," said Victor Gravil, who coaches both the men's and women's national teams.

"We've got some of the best players in our country that are travelling here today."

Protective netting was placed throughout the gym, although the odd ball or two flew over into the excited crowd gathered to watch.

According to Gravili, 300 people signed up to try out.

Besides talent, Gravili said he's looking for players that are coachable, can develop and grow, and play well as a team.

"We're looking for strong mature players, both on and off the court," he said.

There was a big age range of players participating, from people as young as 16 to people in their 40s.

Dodgeball is becoming more popular worldwide, including in places like Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia, said Gravili.

Aside from the competitive aspect of the tournament and tryouts, Gravili said Dodgeball Canada is attempting to show how the game people may have played in gym class differs greatly from the competitive sport.

Besides a higher calibre of play, he said there's a lot of strategy involved and the intensity is ramped up.

Na-Kesha Sookhoo travelled to Halifax with her team from the Greater Toronto Area. She went to the World Dodgeball Championship held in Melbourne, Australia, last year.

"It's a different kind of adrenaline rush and the community is just so tight knit," she said.

Sookhoo said she is hoping some people on her team will get on the national team or become alternates.

"We put in tons of extra time practicing and doing drills and stuff like that and we're really working hard for it," she said.

Team Canada's selection committee plans to meet on Monday and it will likely reach a decision on who makes the cut in two weeks, said Gravili.

The World Dodgeball Championships will be held in Markham, Ont., from Oct. 18-21 at the Pan Am Centre.