Ben Alderson, a first year student, is celebrating after having been selected to represent Team England in their Under 17 Water Polo squad. Ben, who is from Newton Aycliffe, will travel to Brno, Czech Republic, and compete against other European teams in the 2021 EU Nations Junior Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Tournament with Team England’s group stage opponents being Austria, Lithuania and Slovakia. The selection process began in February 2020 with Ben travelling across the country and participating in rigorous qualifiers, which tested his swimming, shooting, passing and game awareness. He was delighted to discover that he had made the final 15 following his final camp in Coventry.

Ben, who has been playing water polo since the age of seven, plays for Sedgefield and Rotherham Metro and he has also progressed through both the North East Regional Academy and the England National Academy where he trained a year ahead of his group. He now trains for 12 hours a week, successfully juggling his passion for water polo with his A Level studies in History, Law and Sport and Leisure. Looking ahead to the tournament in Brno, Ben comments: ‘It feels phenomenal to have qualified. I remember when I was young that I wrote down on a Christmas card that my Christmas wish was to play water polo for England and now my Christmas wish has come true. In the future, I hope to play for the senior men’s team and qualify for the European championships in 2023’.

Ben’s parents have established a GoFundMe to help with travel and training costs with the trip to Brno expecting to cost £1000. For full details and to donate, please visit: https://gofund.me/0f3d6a7a.