The triumphant debut of the World Aquatics beach water polo tournaments during this year's Egypt Aquatics Festival sets the stage for an encore of elite-level competition at the Soma Bay Marina in the Egyptian Red Sea.
This year marks the inception of the World Aquatics U18 Beach Water Polo Cup 2024, providing a platform for age-group beach water polo enthusiasts to partake in the action. Scheduled from March 21st to 24th, the tournament introduces both boys' and girls' competitions for players under 18 as of the turn of the calendar to 2024. And the competitive field of play couldn’t be better, with all games played in the crystalline, turquoise-tinged waters of Soma Bay.
During the U18 Beach Water Polo Cup, the first stop of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup 2024 tour is slated to unfold in the same Egyptian waters from 23-24 March 2024. The open water races will also utilize the Soma Bay Marina for the start and finish zones before venturing farther out into the Red Sea.
Expect a vibrant sporting atmosphere throughout the beach water polo tournament, but especially on the final two days as the field of play for both sports will take place along the promenade of the Soma Bay resort community.
World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam commended Egyptian organizers for their continued commitment to realizing his vision of fostering a closer-knit aquatics community, allowing enthusiasts to revel in aquatic sports through multi-sport festivals on a more frequent basis.
“Today marks yet another milestone for World Aquatics, our sports, and our athletes. Not only are we about to see international beach water polo tournaments being played by our age-group elite for the first time, but to do this along one of our long-time established World Cup series events raises the profiles of both sports,” said World Aquatics President Al-Musallam. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our hosts. Their efforts are deeply appreciated, and resonated with our aquatics athletes who share the same sentiments.”
World Aquatics Beach Water Polo Cup Returns to Soma Bay in May 2024
The excitement is brewing once again as the World Aquatics Beach Water Polo Cup makes a grand return to Soma Bay, Egypt, in May 2024, following the exhilarating global debut of beach water polo in 2023. National team athletes are poised to compete fiercely for the coveted titles during the five-day tournament scheduled to run from May 22nd to May 26th.
Yasser Idris, President of the Egyptian Swimming Federation, emphasized the country's inspiration drawn from hosting international aquatics events.
“We are thrilled to once again showcase Egypt’s rich heritage with world-class aquatics athletes again in March and May of 2024. Our nation harbours a significant passion for aquatic sports, particularly beach water polo. This enthusiam was on full display this past year, notably during the men’s beach water polo final with Egypt playing for the title. By establishing ourselves as regular hosts, we aim to ensure that more Egyptians witness aquatics exceptional athlete performances. This serves as encouragement for our young talents to aspire to become the future stars of aquatics in their generation."
Last year's tournament saw Montenegro clinch a hard-fought victory over hosts Egypt in a thrilling 15-14 penalty shootout in the men's final. In the women’s tournament, Greece took the cup title with a dominant 13-9 win over Czechia.
Even in defeat, Czechia captain Karolina Hlavata was incredibly upbeat on beach water polo.
“It’s great. Playing at the beach for the first time is great; it’s much faster, and much better for the spectators. For us players, it’s also much quicker – lots of goals, lots of exclusions. Even though we lost in the finals to Greece, I have to say playing this is way more fun than the normal water polo. I know I should not say that, but it’s true.”
Echoing similar sentiments about the game's ambience and uniqueness, Montenegro's coach Igor Martinovic and player Stefan Porobic highlighted the nostalgia and distinctiveness of playing beach water polo.
"It brings me back to the summers in Montenegro, where we played in similar conditions. It reminds me of our childhood days playing water polo. Playing in an environment with wind and waves makes it a thrilling and engaging game for spectators. I’d like the sport to continue like this," stated Martinovic.
Porobic added, "Playing in the open water feels like going back to my childhood. Managing oneself in the seawater is a different experience than the pool, with wind and waves. Being the first champion in this game means a lot. I hope this tournament will elevate beach water polo and there will be more and more tournaments like this.”