The Australian men's team known as the Sharks, has competed internationally since the 1948 London Olympic Games, and has qualified for all subsequent Olympic tournaments except Atlanta in 1996, and although not achieving the success of European teams, has remained relatively competitive at international level since. The Sharks were 5th in both the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and 4th place in the World Championships at home in Perth in 1998.
The Australian women's team having had an excellent build up to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games at home in Sydney, the team went into the first Olympic tournament at home. They only lost won match to the powerful Dutch side in that historic campaign, on the way to winning the first ever women's Olympic Gold Medal in front of an ecstatic home crowd. They were 4th at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, and at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the team took the bronze medal after beating Hungary for 3rd place in a penalty shootout.
One of Australia's Water Polo's favourite son's is Richard Pengelley from Western Australia, a dual Olympian, 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1988 Seoul Olympics, along with numerous World Cups.
In those competitive years Richard Pengelley grew in stature as a player amongst his peers and was first elected vice-captain and then captain of the Australian Water-Polo Team, the Sharks.
But that is only half the story, as Richard Pengelley is a committed Christian and found himself involved with other Christians in Sports and it wasn't long before Richard was taking a leading role in discipleship of other Christian athletes.
All of this culminated in a paper he wrote for a Western Australian Christians in Sport seminar in 1990 in which he wrote a paper and presented it, and which has become the 'bible' for Christian athletes wanting to get some serious answers for some very important questions relating to Christian faith and sport.
This paper, "10 Common Questions for Christian Athletes" has been published over and over again including this writer's 1994 book "No Orchestra, No Trumpet" which detailed the history of the pioneering years of the Sports and Leisure Ministry.
Some of these 10 questions -
How do I relate to non-Christians on my team?
What role does/should prayer play in my preparations?
What can / should I do about dirty play?
Should I play on Sunday?
How do I fit both physical and spiritual training in?
What are effective ways to witness to:
â€¢ team mates, coaches, opponents, umpires, spectators
How do I cope with winning or losing? (do I pray to win)
What priority should sport have in my life?
Plus other questions …..
Since that paper was presented and published, Richard Pengelley, who responded to a Call upon his life for Ordination as an Anglican Minister, has mentored many Christian elite athletes.
Should a reader wish a 'free copy' of the .pdf file of that paper titled "10 Common Questions for Christian Athletes" please send your name, address and details in an Email to Well-Being Australia email@example.com
Last week in Perth, Richard Pengelley, now 20 years on, was interviewed by the Australian Missionary News IPTV and this interview will be on-line shortly. It reveals what has become of Richard Pengelley and the remarkable opportunity that has come his way through the University of Western Australia.