16 Asian teams to battle for medals at Dubai

Starting on Monday, the 9th Asian Water Polo Championships will be held this week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nine men’s and seven women’s teams will battle for the medals and the chance to take part in the 2013 FINA World Championships at Barcelona, Spain. The matches will be held at the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Sports Complex which already hosted the 2010 FINA Short course Swimming World Championships.

The women’s team of 2011 World Championships runners-up China is already qualified for the Barcelona event thanks to their 2012 results. They will be joined by two more teams in both tournaments to be created here at Dubai, which had originally been chosen to host the 2013 FINA World Championships. The organisers could not uphold their big promises and finally gave up on the peak of the financial crisis.
Now we will have a big meeting of the Asian teams at the impressive venue. The men’s tournament is consisting of two preliminary round groups. Here the final ranking will be made up by a play-off of the top four of each group. In women’s waterpolo the seven involved teams will be play a single round-robin, including the supposed top match between top-seeded China and two-time Olympic Games participant Kazakhstan on the final day.

Interestingly enough, no locals heroes from Dubai are taking part in both tournaments, and Japan is missing in the upcoming women’s competition. Furthermore the experienced men’s team from Kuwait as regular contender in Asian events finally withdrew after a car accident of some players only a short time before the beginning of the championships. But the field of mostly well-known participants shows a double entry by teams from Sri Lanka.
The field of nominated officials will be enforced by four well-known European referees: György Juhasz from Hungary, Radu Matache from Romania, Greece’s Giorgos Stavridis and  Fillipo Gomez from Italy. A coaches clinic will be held on the final three days of the big event with Serbian legend Igor Milanovic and Greek coach Yiannis Giannouris as most prominent speakers.
9th Asian Water Polo Championships 2012 at Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Men’s tournament
Group Α
1. Saudi Arabia
2. China
3. Singapore
4. Sri Lanka
5. Uzbekistan

Group B
1. Hong Kong
2. Kazakhstan
3. Thailand
4. Japan
Women’s tournament
1. Uzbekistan
2. Kazakhstan
3. China
4. Sri Lanka
5. India
6. Hong Kong
7. Singapore

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