The FINA World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championships kicks off tonight in Belgrade, Serbia where 20 teams from five continents set to battle it out in the largest Men’s Junior World Champs in the history of the Tournament.
Australia has arrived in Serbia on the back of their European Tour where they have competed in warm up Tournaments in Hungary as well as Serbia.
Assistant Coach for the Australian team, Vedran Cirkovic, said the team has had a very positive preparation leading into the World Championships.
“The tour was very positive, the boys are very good and have been training hard,” said Cirkovic.
“We had the first five days of training camp in Szombathely, Hungary and after that we played a tournament there against Serbia, Croatia and Hungary.
“We also had a tournament in Bor, Serbia where we played against the best water polo national teams and finished fifth.
“Now we are in Belgrade ready for the Junior World Championships. Our fourth game in the group is against Serbia and with the tournament in Serbia I think it will be a big challenge for our boys to play against what is maybe the best team in the world.
“Cross over games we are expecting Spain, Croatia or Montenegro and it will definitely be a challenging game, but hopefully we will win and get through to the top eight,” he said.
Australian Junior Men’s Team Captain, Rhys Holden, said the tough contests the team has faced during the European tour has prepared them well for the World Champs.
“So far the tour’s been pretty good, we’ve played some hard games in Bor and Szombathely,” said Holden
“It’s been up and down but we are learning a lot and the boys are gelling together good. We are all keen to start the World Champs.
“We’ve got a strong group to play – China, New Zealand, Argentina and then finish with Serbia in Serbia. Very excited for that game, last game of the rounds. Then potentially a strong crossover game where anything could happen.
“We’re really excited for the tournament, hoping for top eight and potentially for a medal to finish strong,” said Holden.
For FINA World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championship event website click here
The updated schedule for competition has been released with the Aussies Group C draw as follows:
- Sun 6 August; 12:30am (AEST), AUS v CHN
- Sun 6 August; 9:00pm (AEST), AUS v NZL
- Wed 9 August; 3:40am (AEST), AUS v ARG
- Thurs 10 August; 1:50am (AEST), AUS v SRB