Beach water polo action begins in Egypt with tickets to Indonesia for ANOC World Beach Games at stake
By Russell McKinnon
Beach water polo is back on the World Aquatics agenda with 11 men’s teams and four women’s teams competing for the available spaces in the ANOC World Beach Games to be staged in Bali, Indonesia in August.
There are four action-packed days at the Somabay Marina, starting on Friday and finishing on Monday.
Four years ago in Gwangju, South Korea, the first World Aquatics beach water polo championships were staged with some sensational water polo, albeit played in a modified field of play in the main water polo venue.
This weekend’s modified-format tournament is being staged as part of the World Aquatics Festival in Somabay, Egypt and is a continuation of efforts to promote water polo around the globe as not just requiring a full-sized pool in which to play.
There has been a worldwide movement away from pools as a means to attract newcomers to the sport and make it more available to the masses.
The men’s teams are drawn into four groups and the women — Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Greece — will play a round robin, culminating in the finals.
There are three men’s groups of three and one of two where Kazakhstan and Hungary will play each other twice.
This event has attracted a diverse group of nations, allowing a greater reach with the likes of Ukraine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — teams that do not normally rise to the elite seven-a-side version of the game.
At Gwangju 2019, United States of America women beat Spain 14-12 for the inaugural world crown with Australia taking third place — 20-16 against China.
The men’s competition went the way of France with a 22-17 victory over Argentina. Canada clinched third place with a nail-biting 19-18 success over China.
The opening day in Somabay has nine matches — seven men ‘s and two women’s — and matches can be viewed live on the Aqua Youtube website.
Teams will qualify through to the World Beach Games to be staged in Bali, Indonesia on August 5-12.
Also involved in the festival is open water swimming, which has finished, and an artistic swimming World Cup meet, running in tandem with the water polo.
Group A: Kuwait, Ukraine, Georgia.
Group B: South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Montenegro.
Group C: Egypt, Romania, Serbia
Group D: Kazakhstan, Hungary.
Zimbabwe, South Africa, Greece, Czech Republic.
Water polo schedule:
Match 1, 09:00, Men, Kuwait v Ukraine
Match 2, 10:00, Men, Egypt v Romania
Match 3, 11:00, Men, South Africa v Saudi Arabia
Match 4, 12:00, Men, Kazakhstan v Hungary
Match 1, 13:00, Women, Zimbabwe v Greece
Match 2, 14:00, Women, Czech Republic v South Africa
Match 5, 15:00, Men, Georgia v Kuwait
Match 6, 16:00, Men, Serbia v Egypt
Match 7, 17:00, Montenegro v South Africa
Match 8, 08:00, Men, Saudi Arabia v Montenegro
Match 9, 09:00, Men, Romania v Serbia
Match 10, 10:00, Men, Hungary v Kazakhstan
Match 11, 11:00, Men, Ukraine v Georgia
Match 3, 12:00, Women, Zimbabwe v South Africa
Match 4, 13:00, Women, Czech Republic v Greece
Match 12, 14:00, Men, 2B v 1C
Match 13, 15:00, Men, 1B v 2C
Match 14, 16:00, Men, 1A v 2D
Match 15, 17:00, Men, 2A v 1D
Match 16, 10:00, Men, Semifinals 9-12
Match 17, 11:00, Men, Semifinals 5-8
Match 18, 12:00, Men, Semifinals 5-8
Match 5, 14:00, Women, Czech Republic v Zimbabwe
Match 6, 15:00, Women, South Africa v Greece
Match 19, 16:00, Men, Semifinals
Match 20, 17:00, Men, Semifinals
Match 21, 10:00, Men, Classification 9-10
Match 22, 11:00, Men, Classification 7-8
Match 23, 12:00, Men, Classification 5-6
Match 7, 14:00, Women, Classification 1-2
Match 8, 15:00, Women, Classification 3-4
Match 24, 16:00, Men, Classification 3-4
Match 25, 17:00, Men, Classification 1-2
. Story/ Picture, courtesy World Aquatics