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SINGAPORE — Singapore is currently hosting the Asian Water Polo Championships from 22 Mar to 27 Mar at the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub, with Asian powerhouses such as Kazakhstan and China joining top Southeast Asian nations like Singapore and Thailand in the tournament that will serve as the qualifying event for the World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup, Division 2 Qualifier that will be held in May in Berlin, Germany.

A total of 12 teams, eight men and four women, will be competing with the top four men’s teams and the top four women’s teams earning tickets to Berlin. Hosts Singapore are taking part in both the men’s and women’s competition, with the event serving as a good opportunity for the Republic to pit themselves against more established water polo nations.

Singapore men’s team are in Group A alongside Uzbekistan, China and Thailand. In Group B are Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Iran and the Philippines. The men’s will play the round robin, before proceeding to the quarter-finals and semi-finals on the weekend, with the finals taking place on 27 Mar. In the women’s event, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Uzbekistan will play each other in a double round-robin format. 

Photo: Singapore Swimming Association

The hosting of the Asian Water Polo Championships came at the right time for the Singapore Swimming Association after a recent announcement that propelled and showcased the local aquatic scene internationally.

“The Asian Water Polo Championships is only second to the Asian Games when it comes to the most prestigious water polo event in our part of the World. Singapore is honoured to be given the opportunity to host an event of such stature. With the recent announcement that the 2025 World Aquatics Championships will be held in Singapore, we are on the lookout for competitions that will not only test our athletes against top opposition, but also allow us to gain more experience in hosting big events,” said Dominic Soh, Singapore Swimming Association Vice-President (Water-Polo).

The men’s national water polo team comes into the event having won the 2022 Inter Nations Cup, a tournament pitting the best water polo teams in Southeast Asia. They also finished sixth at last year’s Asian Water Polo Championships. At the same event, the women’s team finished fifth in the women’s competition.

“It will be a good test of how far we’ve come and how much we have to improve if we want to be one of the top water polo countries in Asia. We have set a goal of winning a medal at the 2030 Asian Games and events like this on home soil will be a good opportunity for our teams to show the home crowd what they are capable of,” said national head coach Kan Aoyagi.

The Singapore women will take on their Thai counterparts twice in the double round-robin format and will hope to avenge a 13-9 loss to the Thais at last year’s Asian Water Polo Championships. In the men’s event, it is the Thais who will be seeking redemption after Singapore beat them 12-9 on home soil at the 2022 championships. The result saw Singapore finish the tournament in sixth place, one ahead of the Thais. 

Tickets for the event range from $10 to $20. A bundle of four matches for the day is going at a discounted price of $30 per person. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/waterpolo0323

Below is the squad list for the Singapore men’s and women’s water polo team for the Asian Water Polo Championships 2023.

Photo: Singapore Swimming Association

Photo: Singapore Swimming Association

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

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