Courtesy: Singapore Swimming
[SINGAPORE, 26 March 2023] – Iran and China will face off at the OCBC Aquatic Centre tomorrow to determine which side will be crowned the men’s champion on the final day of the 2023 Asian Water Polo Championships.
In the penultimate day’s action, Iran eased past Thailand 20-9 to set up the showdown with the Chinese, while China ran out 10-1 winners against 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Kazakhstan.
But the loudest cheers of the day were reserved for the Singapore women’s team who edged Uzbekistan 8-7 to record their first win of the campaign.
Uzbekistan opened the scoring in a tense match. But cheered on by the home fans, the hosts equalised through Heather Lee and never looked back.
They kept control of the game and held off the central Asians on the back of Ong Cheng Jing’s Player of the Match-performance and her three goals.
Said Ong: “We defended well and controlled the game in attack. Even though the scoreline was tight, I’m very proud of the team as we managed to keep our composure and worked hard for the victory.”
Said Singapore coach Luo Nan: “Our performance today was good. There were improvements in the control of the last leg of the game, as well as our mastery of scoring opportunities. I am very happy with the girls’ first win.”
The Singapore women face Thailand tomorrow, knowing that a win will not only give their confidence a big boost ahead of the SEA Games, but also that a three-goal victory will see them leapfrog Thailand and claim the bronze medal.
The Singapore women’s first win of the tournament sets up an intriguing final day clash with South-east Asia rivals Thailand tomorrow, for what could be a preview to the SEA Games gold medal decider.
There was double joy for the Singapore faithful as the men’s team beat the Philippines 18-6. They will play Uzbekistan tomorrow in the battle for fifth position.
Singapore coach Kan Aoyagi said that this tournament has given him a good sense of his team’s chances for reclaiming the SEA Games gold medal.
He said: “The balance of power lies with a few countries. At the 2019 SEA Games, it was the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. But today, Thailand (who beat
Singapore in this competition in a penalty shootout) have improved a lot so we now have to focus more on Thailand than Indonesia.”
Added national men’s captain Lee Kai Yang: “I think it’s very clear for everyone here in the team, we’re going to the SEA Games gunning for gold.
“Between Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, now everyone knows that it’s an even game, no one is the outright favourite right now so we’re here as equal competitors. We’re going out there with full confidence that we can perform to our best quality and win the gold.”
Kazakhstan win women’s gold medal
Gold was exactly what the Kazak women’s team secured with their 13-8 win over Thailand in the women’s double round-robin competition. They have an unassailable lead at the top of the table with 15 points, followed by Uzbekistan (6 points), Thailand (6 points) and Singapore (3 points).
Apart from Asian honours, the eight men and four women teams are competing to qualify for May’s World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup – Division 2 Qualifier in Berlin. The top four men’s and top four women’s teams will earn tickets to Berlin.
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 https://www.sistic.com.sg/events/waterpolo0323.