FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final 2009: Edition # 8: A huge success

World League

Last year, from the Beijing Olympics we learned that the number eight is considered an auspicious number for the Chinese. This year, in Podgorica, we were taught that the number eight was also a lucky number with regard to the FINA Men’s Water Polo World League, the eighth edition of which concluded in the main city of Podgorica in the young and small Republic of Montenegro, on June 21, 2009.


The bronze medal game between USA-SRB - credit: Radoje Milic

The new European World League formula has been welcomed by the large majority of participant national federations, and it proved itself to be very successful in practical terms as the stages of the competition unfolded.

As Gianni Lonzi, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Chairman and master-mind behind the project, puts it: “All the national federations now think that the World League is essential to their competitive programme; Hungary (who won the titles back in 2003 and 2004) too could soon decide to join the party again.”

Lonzi noted that “the new rules are also working well” and that “the quality of refereeing is also improving”. In consequence, for first time in many years, few proposals for change have been forwarded to FINA in view of the next Technical Congress, which will take place in Rome this summer.

The final MNE-CRO - credit: Radoje Milic

Guillermo Martinez, the FINA Bureau Liaison present at all Super Finals, noted that the success was multifold: most games were played at a high level and were exciting, the organisation was perfect and the response of the public was amazing. Incidentally, the final games were available via live streaming on the FINA website. John Whitehouse and Evgeny Sharonov, the other FINA Delegates to the Super Final, were also very satisfied with the very positive outcome of the whole tournament.

The Federation of Montenegro, the local authorities and institutions worked hard and efficiently to build a new swimming complex for the competition and prepare - in just 100 days - the perfect setting for the eighth edition of this increasingly popular FINA competition. The Moraca swimming complex, named after the nearby river (the major one out of six that cross the town), was indeed an excellent venue (Italy’s coach Sandro Campagna defined it as “perfect”).

The winning team of Montenegro - credit: Radoje Milic

The efforts of the organisers were rewarded with the final triumph of the home team, cheered by the crowd in attendance, and by the whole country. Almost every night (the home team always played the last game of each day) the contagious enthusiasm and heated support of a full capacity crowd of 4000, which filled every centimeter of the tribunes reserved for the public, served to boost the home team. Montenegro’s games were broadcast live on the national television. After this resounding victory, many are predicting that Montenegro could be among the gold medal favourites in Rome.