Courtesy: LEN Media
The inaugural edition of the men’s U15 European Water Polo Championships was tremendous success in Burgas, Bulgaria. Hungary won the first title in a one-sided final against Montenegro, while Italy got the bronze.
Final rankings: 1. Hungary, 2.Montenegro, 3.Italy, 4. Greece, 5. Serbia, 6. Georgia, 7. Spain, 8. Croatia, 9. Russia, 10. Slovakia, 11. Slovenia, 12. Turkey, 13. Romania, 14. Bulgaria, 15. Netherlands, 16. Belarus
MVP and Top Scorer: Akos Nagy (HUN)
The brand new aquatic center in Burgas welcomed the best U15 European players and the venue witnessed some great games, especially in the quarterfinal rounds where the young warriors produced real thrillers.
The clash of Hungary and Serbia was as epic as their senior sides’ battles. Serbia came back from 8-4 and 10-8 down to take the lead in the last period at 10-11, only to see the Magyars netting two in 45 seconds shortly before the end. Spain and Italy met here in the quarters (at the seniors’ Worlds they played the final), the game ended in a 3-3 tie and the Italians won the shootout. Montenegro upended group-winner Croatia 10-9 with a late double in the very last minute, while Greece needed a miraculous 5-2 run in the final quarter to beat surprise quarterfinalist Georgia 12-10.
The Hungarians won a tough one against Italy in the semis 8-6 while Montenegro didn’t leave any chance for the Greeks (13-8). The final lacked the expected excitements as the young Hungarians opened the match with a 5-0 rush and never looked back to take the crown with a 15-9 win. Italy edged out Greece for the bronze medal 9-8.
LEN has launched this new age-group event in order to meet the National Federations’ demands to create a competitive environment for these youngsters as this contributes a great deal to their development. Next year these generations can play in the U16 World Championships.
The following age-group event in the LEN Calendar is the European Junior Open Water Swimming Championships to be held in Racice (CZE) from 1-4 August. Free live streaming will be offered on the LEN website.