Tian's taking on the world

Published 6:00am 19 June 2024

Tian's taking on the world
Words by Nick Crockford

The world awaits for Kippa-Ring’s Tian Markart and his Australian water polo team, 14,000km away in South America.

First stop for the 16-year-old Mueller College student is Sau Paulo, capital of Brazil, to train against top European nations.

The Aussies then fly to Argentina for the World Aquatics Men’s Under 18 World Championships (July 2-9) in Buenos Aires.

It will be Markart’s second world titles - the first being in 2022 as the goalkeeper and youngest member of Australia’s Under 16 Cadets team.

This time, Australia is one of two Oceania qualifiers (the second being New Zealand) and start against South Africa and Kazakhstan.

“We've been pretty lucky with our pool, so I reckon we'll have a fighting chance,” said Markart, who started playing seven years ago.

Tian's taking on the world

“However, in saying that, both teams will give us a good run, so guards up the entire time.”

If Australia progress from Group F the world’s best will be waiting in the later rounds.

“Of course you have got the main challengers like Montenegro, Serbia and especially Hungary,” Markart said.

“They (Hungary) won the last World Championship, Cadets in 2022, so keeping a careful watch on them will be necessary.”

Markart started playing water polo seven years ago with North Brisbane Polo Bears at Albany Creek Leisure Centre. He is now with UQ Barracudas.

His ability was soon spotted and Markart was a regular in the Queensland age teams, winning MVP (Most Valuable Player) at the Under 12 and 14 state titles.

Tian's taking on the world

In 2022 he was in the Queensland Under 15 squad, at two Australian Cadet camps and played the Under 16 and 18 state titles, winning gold at the latter.

Markart has also played at the Summer Slam (Nationals) for the Under 16 Gold team, the Australian Youth Championships and Regional Schools.

His goals are to make the Australian Olympic team for the 2028 Los Angeles Games and then Brisbane in 2032, as well as play for Italian team Pro Recco in the off season here.

Twenty nations have qualified for the Under 18 World Championships: Hungary, Greece, Serbia, Spain, Montenegro, Italy, Croatia, Japan, Iran, Kazakhstan, China, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Uruguay, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Group A: USA, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary; Group B: Greece, Italy, Spain, Croatia; Group C: China, Canada, Iran; Group D: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay; Group E: Japan, New Zealand, Colombia; Group F: Australia, South Africa, Kazakhstan

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