China, Iran, Kazakhstan & Thailand Seal Berlin World Cup Slots At Asian WP Championships

Courtesy: Singapore Swimming

[SINGAPORE, 25 March 2023] – Thailand was the surprise entrant as the four semi-finalists of the 2023 Asian Water Polo Championships were decided today at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. They also joined China, Iran, and Kazakhstan, by virtue of their top-four finishes, as the sides to qualify for May’s World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup – Division 2 Qualifier in Berlin.

But while three of the quarter-finals were largely one-sided affairs – Thailand beat Hong Kong 21-9, China beat the Philippines 27-4 and Iran beat Uzbekistan 18-8 – Kazakhstan were made to labour against host Singapore, needing a late surge to win 10-7.

Kazakhstan, the reigning Asian Games champions, struggled to find their usual free-flowing form in a testy match that pushed both sides to the limit.

Singapore surprised Kazakhstan with a tenacious display and even took the lead through Loh Zhi Zhi. Both sides kept it close right up to the start of the fourth quarter when Kazakhstan held a slender 6-5 lead. But they scored three quick unanswered goals which proved to be the difference at the final buzzer.

Although disappointed to miss out on a spot in Berlin, Singapore coach Kan Aoyagi was happy that his side put one of Asia’s strongest teams to the test.

He said: “Before (the Kazakhstan game), we didn’t show our potential. I think the Kazakhs were thinking this would be an easy game. But I told the boys that they can take the fight to Kazakhstan and they did.

“And that is the challenge I would like to give the team – that they have to believe more. This match is a good learning experience for the team.”

Kan and his men will have the chance to build on the encouraging performance against the Philippines, which will be a good test to Singapore’s goal of winning the gold medal at May’s SEA Games.

Kazakhstan will face stiff competition when they meet China in tomorrow’s semi-finals – with the Chinese still unbeaten in the tournament.

Said China coach Petar Porobic: “Kazakhstan have a young team and it is good for their future.

“For us, we are already starting to prepare for Berlin and the World Championships. We are looking forward to playing tougher games in the next two days, which will be good preparation for the upcoming competitions.”

In the women’s competition, Kazakhstan have all but secured a slot to Berlin. They beat Singapore 13-2 to maintain their perfect record. They need one more win from two more matches to confirm their place in the top two of the group.

The final slot will be a straight fight between Thailand and Uzbekistan. The Thais put themselves in contention with a 10-9 win in today’s showdown with Uzbekistan. Both sides are now level on six points with two games to play. But Uzbekistan is second by virtue of a superior (+7) goal difference.

Please find the event photos in the Google Drive link here.

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

Thailand vs Uzbekistan Kazakhstan vs Singapore
Score: 10 – 9 Score: 13 – 2
Player of the Match: Player of the Match:
Yanisa Turon (Thailand) Pochinok Darya (Kazakhstan)
Hong Kong, China vs Thailand China vs Philippines
Score: 9 – 21 Score: 27 – 4
Player of the Match: Player of the Match:
Phatsakorn Maneejohn (Thailand) Chen Yi Min (China)
Singapore vs Kazakhstan Uzbekistan vs Iran
Score: 7 – 10 Score: 8 – 18
Player of the Match: Player of the Match:
Shakenov Murat (Kazakhstan) Mehdi Yazdankhan (Iran)


Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) is the National Sports Association governing aquatic sports in Singapore. These include five key disciplines – diving, open water swimming, swimming, artistic swimming and water polo. As the national governing body, SSA spearheads its vision of developing the Republic to become a leader in aquatic sports – regionally as well as globally. Closer to home, SSA collaborates with various affiliate clubs and stakeholders, to proactively nurture a greater depth of local talent through various outreach efforts and programmes. Our vision is to become a world-class aquatics nation, with the goal of making every Singaporean a swimmer.

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