Paintballers take a shot at Russia

THIS Sunday, two Canberra women will board a plane for England, where they will join the other members of a specially assembled team before heading on to Russia for the world’s biggest women’s paintball tournament.

Rose Pearce and Courtney Reeve are the captain and vice-captain of Canberra’s only women’s paintball team, the Divas, which was invited to compete in this year’s Arena Moscow Girls’ Cup against teams from all over the world.

Unfortunately, they are leaving behind their teammates Jess Carswell, Phillipa Richards, Erikka Weustenfeld and Rose’s sister Gabby, due to the cost, timing and, in the case of Phillipa, pregnancy.

Paintballer Rose Pearce... “This tournament is about encouraging women to be involved.” Photo by Silas Brown

Paintballer Rose Pearce… “This tournament is about encouraging women to be involved.” Photo by Silas Brown

With a little help from the event co-ordinators, who posted a message on the event’s online forum, the two Canberrans were able to join the Celtic Banshees, a team from the UK that also came up short of players who could make it to Moscow.

Competitive paintball is a small world, especially for the women who play. “Obviously, because the sport is so male-dominated, this tournament is about encouraging women to be involved; we do find that we network together and mentor those who are interested,” says Rose.

Other teams in the Arena Moscow tournament have had to enlist extras, too, including one made up of players from Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Japan, and another from Russia with ring-ins from Holland and Malaysia.

“It’s becoming more and more popular here in Australia, however in Europe it is massive,” says Rose, excited to be going on her first overseas trip.

“I believe [a group in] California has just arranged for an all-female tournament as well, but they are the only two that I’m aware of.

“Teams from all around Australia have been represented in some tournaments overseas before, but from my understanding Courtney and I will be the first females from Australia to compete in an international tournament.”

Anyone woman interested in joining the Divas or supporting them financially can contact them through the “Divas PB Team” Facebook page. Follow the Celtic Banshees in the Arena Moscow tournament on a live webcast at pb-arena.ru/online/

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