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Doha 2024: Water Polo’s Olympic Qualification Drama
- Updated: November 29, 2023
The World Aquatics Championships in Doha promise an extraordinary men’s and women’s water polo tournament, providing a unique opportunity for athletes to claim the world title just months before the Paris Olympics in 2024. As the last qualification chance for the Olympics, teams have everything to gain, making this championship a crucial battle for the remaining spots.
Qualifications for Paris 2024
- Men’s Teams: 12 teams will compete in Paris, with Hungary and Greece already securing spots after their performance in Fukuoka 2023.
- Women’s Teams: 10 teams will play for the Olympic title, and the Netherlands and Spain have already earned their participation through the Fukuoka championships.
So far, seven men’s teams (France, Hungary, Greece, USA, Japan, South Africa, Australia) and seven women’s teams (France, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, China, USA, South Africa) have qualified for Paris 2024.
Hungary’s Title Defense
- Men’s Team: Hungary, the reigning world champions, aim to defend their title. Despite their main focus on the Olympics, they plan to give their best in Doha. Coach Zsolt Varga emphasizes the importance of the World Championships on the road to the Olympics, highlighting the prestige of winning it.
- Women’s Team: Spain, disappointed by missing the final in Fukuoka, is determined to show their best in Doha to qualify for the Olympics. Captain Felipe Perrone, preparing for his 12th World Aquatics Championships, expresses the team’s goal to win the gold medal. With the World Championships being the second most important tournament after the Olympics, Spain is eager for success.
Serbia’s Rising Team
- Men’s Team: Serbia, led by Strahinja Rasovic and Nikola Jaksic, demonstrated strength in Fukuoka, reaching the bronze medal match. They, along with Spain, have a chance to qualify for the Olympics at the European Championships in Croatia in January.
Battle in the Women’s Category
- The Dutch broke the American hegemony in Fukuoka, ending Team USA’s dynastic run. Spain secured an Olympic quota with a silver finish. Team USA, having already secured a spot, aims to improve on their fifth-place finish at last year’s Worlds.
The Championships in Doha mark a historic opportunity for teams to secure their place in the Paris 2024 Olympics. With nothing to lose, the battles in both the men’s and women’s categories promise intense and exciting matches. The unique timing of these championships adds an extra layer of significance, making it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for athletes in the prime of their careers. As the teams vie for victory, the world awaits to witness the unfolding drama in the pool
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By- Sahiba Suri