The water polo competitions of 17. FINA Masters World Championship came to an end on Sunday in Alfréd Hajós Complex. 120 teams finished their race, with the medal and the placement matches in nine age categories for men’s tournaments and two more age categories in women’s competitions.
Australian Perth Cockatoos and the US Team of Blue Thunder Masters already played a very tough match (Aussies won by 8-7) at the opening round and they met again in the final.
The men from ‘down under’ won again in a very exciting game, scoring the winning goal only 2 seconds before the final buzzle, however, their opponent equalised just a few seconds before.
Tom Hoad, players of Perth: „It is enough to say that we were lucky. We are the oldest competitors here, sometimes we just swam without any purpose, but I’m happy because we won. The Hungarians deserve all compliments, because the competitions and the organising are both fantastic.
Bronze medal game:
SV Poseidon Hamburg (német)-SV Cannstatt (német) 1-10 (0-1, 1-4, 0-1, 0-4)
Goals: Buchta, vs. Schwab 4, Royla 3, Schilling 2, Schuppler
Perth Cockatoos (AUS)-Blue Thunder Masters (USA) 6-5 (1-0, 2-2, 1-1, 2-2)
Goals: Hoad 2, Neesham 2, Wallace, Gunthorp, vs. Stage 3, Kolarik, Koehler
Everybody could see a big Estonian march, whoever follows the matches of 65+ age category of men’s competitions. Kalevi Ujumiskol won all its matches, except one, which became a draw and won the gold medal with an unbeaten series. The Baltic team won the final game against an Italian opponent and collect its first ever world championship gold medal.
Hillar Kangur, player of Kalevi summerizied his feelings: „We were very integrated, we prepared a lot. We are an experienced participant of the masters’ competitions, we have been playing together for ten years. We already won bronze and silver medals, this is our first victory so we are very happy. Naturally it was a hard tournament, but we played with 15 players, we had physical preparation, we have enough substitutional opportunity, and that was a decisive factor. There were a massive water polo culture in Estonia during our youth, our country also has an Olympic champion with the Soviet Union. We are an international team with players from St. Petersburg and Uzghorod, we are fully satisfied.”
Bronze medal game:
Poseidon Hamburg (GER)-Old Mission Bay (USA) 4-8 (0-2, 2-4, 1-2,
Goals: Asche-Morgner 2, Plath 2, vs. Lindroth 3, Ferguson 2, Arth 2, Rees
Kalevi Ujumiskol (EST)-ASD Bogliasco (ITA) 4-2 (1-0, 1-0, 1-1, 1-1)
Goals: Skatskov 2, Sliusenkovas, Vasylkin, vs. Casaleggio, Gerbo
German team of Düsseldorf defends its world title in men’s 60+ age category, beating the American Santa Barbara Masters in a very exciting final on penalties.
A few Hungarian athletes played on German side, the goalkeeper, Ferenc Pintér saved two penalties in shoot-out:
„It was hard to win the tournament, because we were defeated during the preliminaries by this American team, though we led throughout that game, but we got tired at the end and we had stronger opponents in the knock-out phase. The Dutch team’s players are 5 years younger than us on average, but we won with our very good tactics, and the excitement of the final speaks for itself. My teammate, Miklós Hámori has lived in Germany for many years, I have played in the team for three years. We won in Kazan two years ago, so we arrived here as title-holders. We had two newcomer Hungarian players, József Varga and his brother. We need them because two of our former teammates finished to play. Naturally, we are happy with this gold medal.”
Bronze medal game:
Blue Thunder Masters (USA)-HZC De Robben (NED) 6-11 (0-3, 3-3, 2-2, 1-3)
Goals: Hildebrand, Moffat, Strand, Inglefield, Altmann, Marsan, vs. Landeweerd 3, van Zeeland 3, Blankestijn 2, van Meeteren, Kort, van Rooijen
St. Barbara Masters (USA)-Düsseldorf (GER) 9-10 (0-1, 2-0, 0-2, 3-2, 4-5) – on penalties
Goals: Mix 2, Johnson 2, Fearn, Fischler, Hendrix, Lundgren, Mulcahy, vs. Mutean 4, Wolf 2, Hámori, Rusu, Schuppler, Varga
Penalties decided at the very end of this age category. German Cannstatt beat Hungarian MC Walrus in semi-final then the scenario was the same, with opposite sign: Germans were defeated by the American Santa Barbara.
The team from the US is an experienced masters-participant, emphasized by the summary of John Dobrott:
„This world championship was wonderful, since Budapest is the capital of water polo. It was a very hard series, the Hungarians were great, just like the team of Cannstatt. We always have to fight against European teams, therefore the victory means a lot to us. This is the third gold medal for our club, so we are very happy.”
Bronze medal game:
MC Walrus (HUN)-Europa Sporting (ITA) 10-8 (3-4, 2-2, 5-1, 0-1)
Goals: Petlyanszki 6, Vidumansky, Kuncz, Mujzer, Boros, vs. Tebar Rodrigo 3, Gulani 3, Bellani, Valentini
SV Cannstatt (GER)-St. Barbara Masters (USA) 6-8 (1-2, 2-0, 1-1, 0-1, 2-4) – on penalties
Goals: Jobst 2, Westbrock 2, van Kaathoven, Packenius, vs. Neushul 2, Judge 2, Yates, Stiling, Dobrott, Boyer
The participants of the final played a great match in this age category, sincet he title holder Happy Hippos and the Russian Dynamo Masters had a big fight in the pool. Neither team had a two-goal advantage throughout the game and after the great save of Ferenc Szakonyi, it looked like there would be shoot-out, but the Olympic champion of Moscow 1980, Georgy Mshvenieradze had different thoughts and succeed to score from a rebound, 2:22 min. before the final whistle.
Bronze medal game:
The Olympic Club (USA)-Sunday Boys (HUN) 10-4 (2-1, 2-1, 4-1, 2-1)
Goals: Quintal 3, Ambidge 2, Norton, Schoening, Schmidt, Mouchawar, Indart, vs. Linter, Homolya, Rigó, Ugrin
Dynamo Masters (RUS)-Happy Hippos (HUN) 8-7 (2-3, 3-2, 1-1, 2-1)
Goals: Maslovskii 3, Mshvenieradze 2, Askar, Chekunov, Maksimov, vs. Ürögi 3, Eppel, Vígh, Bene, Vígvári
Ybl-Octopus took the first gold medal for the host county, in men’s 45+ competition. The team won with a well-deserved victory, though they had difficult moment at the beginning of the semi-final against Brazilian AMPA.
The final was even more exciting and the score was 8-7 at the end. The was played in front of numerous spectators. Ybl led only twice, at the very end of the match for the second time, when Róbert Csányi scored 4 second before the end. The shot was not the most powerful, even by himself, but the bounced ball finished its way in the net – before that moment, Croatians equalised only
17 seconds before the end, but the match ended in a dramatic finish. The Hungarian-Croatian battle finished with the victory of the Magyars - for the first time this summer.
„I still searching for words, I don’t know what to say, this is my first huge experience as a coach. Team took very seriously this tournament, we can not say that we walked into the final easily. We reached the edge of our power, but we had a tremendous endurance – and this was our main goal, it does not count how the score is. It is a fantastic feeling to win in Alfréd Hajós Complex as a Hungarian water polo team” – said Viktor Paján, head coach of Ybl.
Bronze medal game:
AMPA ECP (BRA)-CSN Imperial (MDV) 10-8 (4-0, 3-3, 1-3, 2-2)
Goals: Rabello 3, Figueiredo 2, Doria 2, Mameri 2, Bell, vs. Vitosinschi 3, Druzhinin, Danilov, Balandin, Kiper
Ybl-Octopus (HUN)-Masters Water Polo Club Veteran (CRO) 8-7 (1-2, 2-1, 1-2, 4-2)
Goals: Csányi 3, Csurgó 2, Köllő, Lihotzky, Tóth F., vs. Plazonic 2, Marinkovic 2, Hraste, Jezina, Nardelli
Although Neptun VSC did their best in the final, they could not take advantage of playing in home field, The Olympic Club – an American team comprising of somewhat younger players- proved to be more successful and claimed the well-deserved gold.
Marty Matthies said the followings after clinching gold:
„It was rather hard to win the tournament; our group was an extremely strong one. In the final Neptun played in front of the home crowd so it was a huge challenge for us. It was an honour to play here, we are super happy about the world title, we have put tremendous work into it. Except for a player or two this was the first masters tournament for the members, it was great, we had a wonderful time.”
The other Hungarian team in the group, MAFC has claimed a medal, also, after a confident win against the Russian team Kazan in the bronze match.
Bronze medal game:
WPC Kazany (RUS)-MAFC Masters (HUN) 7-15 (2-4, 1-4, 1-4, 3-3)
Goals: Kusko 3, Nedokontsev, Masliuk, Temrkhanov, Zimarin, vs. Major 4, Varga Z. 3, Hangay R. 2, Korbuly 2, Mód 2, Vankó 2
The Olympic Club (USA)-Neptun VSC (HUN) 10-9 (2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-4)
Goals: Sample 2, Sharf 2, Murphy 2, Alexander, Corcoran, Warden, Dudley, vs. Garádi 3, Hajós 2, Balogh Z. 2, Dobricza, Halász
The 35+ category saw an easy and a quite close match on Sunday. Bull’s Blood, the tem regarded as a favourite in the 35+ category started off with a 6-0 attack paving the way to victory. Interestingly enough, the goalkeeper of ESE arrived for the match just in time because he was working right before the match (he works as a pilot and he had been to France a few hours before the match, then he arrived and he was rushed to Margaret Island by motorbike).
Bull’s Blood thus claimed the second gold for Hungary. The bronze went to the American The Olympic Club.
Bronze medal game:
The Olympic Club (USA)-Jadran Veterani (MNE) 7-5 (0-2, 4-1, 1-2, 2-0)
Goals: Bánhidy 2, Bailey 2, Conte, Mecham, Panawek, vs. Bilic 2, V. Subotic 2, B. Subotic
ESE 80 (magyar)-Bull’s Blood (magyar) 6-14 (0-4, 0-2, 3-4, 3-4)
Goals: Seress 2, Kiss Sz., Szabó G., Bell, Kovács A., vs. Bárány 5, Bereczki 2, Ofner 2, Boncföldi 2, Békés, Mányai, Csáki
The youngest age group of women saw Hungarian victory, in fact, the fortunate scenario of the two American teams playing a draw against each other contributed greatly to the Hungarian success. For Budakalász (featuring world and European champions) it meant that if they prove to be successful in their match, they will claim the tournament.
If they had failed to do so, they would have claimed bronze and a draw would have led to silver in the end. The team of Rita Drávucz started off a bit more carefully but in the end they won the match confidently.
Bánki VSE (HUN)-Bay Area Masters (USA) 4-9 (1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-3)
Goals: Győrfi-Budai 2, Bóta-Tóth, Magyarfalvi, vs. Gandy 4, Werner 2, Dielman, El-Sakkary, Barnes
Kinef-Kirishi (RUS)-English Roses (GBR) 14-2 (5-0, 3-2, 3-0, 3-0)
Gólszerzők: Aleksandrova 4, Kashkovskaja 2, Pustynnikova, Botalova, Gridneva, Mazepova, Bagutskaya, Matveeva, Gubina, Golydbina, vs. Yetman, Hinton
Budakalász SC (HUN)-The Olympic Club (USA) 13-10 (3-2, 3-1, 3-2, 4-5)
Goals: Drávucz 4, Pelle 4, Brávik 3, Stieber 2, vs. Hughes 3, Cesnik 2, Villa 2, Gouge, Hanson, Swaner
1. Budakalász SC 11 point – World Champion
2. Bay Area Masters 10 point
3. Kirishi 8 point
4. The Olympic Club 7 point
5. Eimsbuetteler 4 point
6. Bánki VSE 2 point
7. English Roses 0 point
Women’s 35+, 40+, 45+
In the combined medium age group of women three teams in 35+, one in 40+ and three more in the 45+ category clashed. The Italian Sist. Integrati remaining unbeaten after group matches claimed the well-deserved world title in the 40+ category. Medals were distributed in the 45+ category as well, the gold went to the Italian team Argentario while in the 35+ category Czech Stepp Praha won the gold medal.
Sist. Integrati (ITA)-Oggun de PA (COL) 11-2 (3-0, 3-1, 3-1, 2-0)
Goals: Kutuzova 5, Etiebet 3, Arena, Cestarelli, Pieretti, vs. Rojas Acevedo, Guiaso
Stepp Praha (CZE)-Donegall (IRE) 12-3 (1-1, 3-0, 5-0, 3-2)
Goals: Sykorova 3, Prochazkova 3, Korinkova 2, Paryzkova, Krizova, Zarubova, Kahounova, vs. McGuian, Byers, Reilly
English Roses (GBR)-PA Medellin (COL) 11-1 (3-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-0)
Goals: Gaywood 3, Holt 3, Reader 2, Naish, Norris, Gilder, vs. Meija Cobaleda
1. Sist. Integrati 11 points – World Champion
2. ASD Argentario (ITA) 11 point
3. Stepp Praha 8 point
4. Oggun de PA 6 point
5. English Roses 4 point
6. Donegall 2 point
7. PA Medellin 0 point
The bronze in this age group was claimed by the Romanian masters team Brenntag, after defeating the other Hungarian team, Oázis.
The one-week water polo tournament of the 17th FINA World Masters Championships was concluded by the match of the star team, Millenium, comprising of Olympic champions. It definitely was a worthy end to this fantastic tournament. Just like before, Hajós Alfréd Swimming Complex was packed with spectators on Sunday evening (as a matter of fact, it was even more crowded than before) demonstrating the love of Hungarian spectators for water polo.
The question was whether the Russian team featuring two Olympians of Athens (2000) can come close to or beat the world class water polo players (6 of them are members of the Association of Immortal Hungarian Athletes). They did not manage to do so, what is more, they scored their first goal only when Hungary was leading 5-0. The iconic players scored amazing goals, they were very fast and the Russian team could not keep up with them. The match ended in a confident victory of the Hungarian team and the home crowd was bursting with joy. The masters tournament was conducted successfully on Margaret Island.
The protagonists got quite emotional after the finals:
„We definitely planned an ending like this. During this week we enjoyed each other’s company a lot, it was fantastic to play together again. In previous years we all got engaged in different areas, many of us did not deal with water polo at all, and here we are again now. There was not much at stake, no pressure on us, we aimed at pleasing our audience. I guess we could do so” – said Péter Biros, one of the six three-time Olympic champions.
In his brief evaluation two-time Olympic champion, István Gergely made a nice gesture:
„I would like to express my thanks to those players who are not yet old enough to be here, yet they were and they are here with us, thanks for working and playing together as well as for helping each other.”
„It was fantastic to see the complex packed with so many spectators. Trainings were also enjoyable, the atmosphere was great, it would be nice to play together in the future, as well. I joined the trainings only at the end of the preparation period but I am very happy I could make it to train and play with the team. The entire tournament was a huge celebration for us, many thanks to everyone” – told Bulcsú Székely.
Tamás Kásás also pointed out the amazing audience:
„I would like to express my gratitude to all these people who supported us not only during this week but for 15 years now. This was the sole reason we decided to enter the masters tournament, to please the home crowd at a locally held tournament. I guess it wasn’t a bad idea after all... By the way, we got really exhausted in each match, although they were quite easy ones, they required intense swimming and footwork, I am happy we could bring joy to a lot of people.”
„When we got out of the pool at the end, we stood up in a line and our kids rushed to us, it became clear that although time has flown by, there is still respect, friendship and love among the team members” – said Tibor Benedek after the final.
Bronze medal game:
SC Brenntag (ROU)-Oázis SC (HUN) 12-8 (3-2, 3-3, 4-1, 2-2)
Goals: Iosep 5, Cojocariu 3, Cristescu, Witteboon, Balanov, Badea, vs. Felvégi 3, Tóth-Deme 3, Regős, Zácsik
St. Petersburg (RUS) Millennium (HUN) 3-16 (0-3, 1-6, 0-3, 1-3)
Goals: Fedotov, Zinnurov, vs. Biros 5, Varga Zs. 3, Kásás 2, Molnár 2, Székely, Steinmetz B., Varga T., Benedek