The upcoming summer will offer a lot of water polo action worldwide. The highlight is the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, but a big competition in a relatively new discipline – beach water polo – will be staged this year.
Beach water polo has been included in the program of the 2nd World Beach Games 2023 in Bali (Indonesia). A total of 24 teams (12 male and 12 female teams) will have the right to participate in the tournament scheduled for August 6 – 12.
The top three nations from the World Championships in Budapest, held last year, are already qualified (men – Spain, Italy, Greece; women – USA, Hungary, Netherlands). Five nations will qualify through the continental qualifications (among them are European champions – the male team of Croatia and the female team of Spain). Indonesia has guaranteed quotas as a host.
The remaining tickets for Bali will be allocated this weekend in Soma Bay (Egypt), the coastal resort on the Red Sea, 45km south of Hurghada. World Aquatics will organize the World Beach Water Polo Qualification Tournament in Soma Bay between May 12 and 15.
The top three teams from male and female tournaments will qualify for Bali.
The field for beach water polo is 15 meters long, while the width of the field is between 10 and 12,5 m. Each team consists of four players (goalkeeper and three field players) and up to three reserves that can be used as substitutions. The game lasts four quarters of five minutes each.
Among the participating teams in the tournament in Soma Bay are some powerhouses that will debut at an international beach water polo competition.
Olympic champion Serbia will play at a beach water polo tournament for the first time. There will be no Olympic gold medalists on the team of Serbia. However, a few players who have won medals in the World Cup, the World League and have participated at the World and European Championships are on the roster (goalkeeper Dimitrije Risticevic, Ognjen Stojanovic).
The teams of Hungary and Montenegro will also arrive and Egypt and try to qualify for the World Beach Games.
Twelve teams entered the male tournament and will be split into four groups of three teams in the first phase. The tournament begins on Friday, and the draw will be held tomorrow evening.
Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro and Georgia are in the first pot of the draw for the male tournament. Kazakhstan, South Africa, Kuwait and host Egypt are in the second line. Romania, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are in the third pot.
Four teams will play at the female tournament: Greece, the Czech Republic, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
World Aquatics (FINA at that time) included beach water polo in its competition program a few years ago. The beach water polo tournament was part of the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju. It was played in the pool. France (men) and Team USA (women) won gold medals.