Riccione 2012, Swimming: A flowering of five-time champions
The Championships' biggest reception was reserved for swimming, where the entire Masters community - competitors, spectators and fans - cheered from the stands at the outdoor pool of the “Polisportiva Communale” in Riccione. It is a quarter past midnight. They are all waiting for the last heat, men's 50m butterfly, to start. Sergey Mukhin from Russia was the last champion of the day, winning the event in 25.09 (25-29 age group). And all together, they celebrated a great midnight show after all heats were held during a long, long day. The competition had started at 7:30 in the morning with the first heat for the men's 400m IM, Spain's Manuel Pinya touching first in 13:17.93 (85-89 age group).
Long days and sessions confirmed the ever-vibrant interest for Masters swimming all over the world. A total 77 afiliated member federations, from Andorra to Zimbabwe, were present in Riccione and close to 10'000 competitors in swimming only provided a total 28'878 individual and 1556 relay splashes at the event - an absolute record in FINA's history. Up to now, the 2000 edition in Munich, Germany, held the record of entries (17'144, individual and relays together). “We never expected such a great number of participants. We are very surprised and overwhelmed by this very great interest”, said Paolo Barelli, FINA Bureau Honorary Secretary and President of Italian Swimming Federation. “It shows also the great attraction of Riccione and the Adriatic Sea”, he added.
Riccione 2012, Synchronised Swimming: A family affair
Compositions of pop, rock, soul, classical music blared on the loudspeakers for the five-day synchronised swimming competition of the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione, Italy. A total 588 competitors performed routines in solo, duet, trio, team and combination. Some travelled a long way to compete on the wonderful Adriatic coast. From Kobe, Japan, 89-year-old Chisako Oishi competed in the 80+ age group, bringing home a gold medal from the solo event. She earned a second gold medal with her daughter Mayumi Araki in the duet (70-79 age group). “I have trained hard up to three times a week for this event”, she said.
Team Caem from Canada also brought the family to Riccione, but at a quite different level. Two of the nine competitors had their young babies with them. “We must organise our training and practice according to the feeding schedule”, Annie Arseneau said. Robert Prevot is coaching the club's three teams that are in Riccione. "I'm responsible for creativity and artistry”, he explained. “And I'm having very busy days here at the championships”, he added.
Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia beats Spain to clinch first World League title
KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 17) – Water polo at its prime: Croatia won a thrilling final against Spain in a penalty shootout; eleven rounds were needed to decide the title which finally went to Croatia, for the first time in World League history. Italy came third after a narrow win over USA, the hosts celebrated Kazakhstan‘s best ever placement in any FINA competition as they clinched the fifth position ahead of China, and the Australians found some consolation in their victory against Brazil.
The final day’s action was attended by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione and Dariga Nazarbayeva, Chairperson of the Social and Development Committee of the Kazakh Parliament, daughter of the country’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The FINA President and Mrs Nazarbayeva presented the gold medals to the victorious Croatian players at the end of the event which was very well organised, thanks to the tremendous efforts by the Kazakh Swimming Federation.
Super Final 2012 (Men): Spain upsets Italy, meets Croatia in final
KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 16) – World champion Italy couldn’t make it to the final this time: they were pushed aside by Mediterranean arch rivals Spain in a game decided by the penalties. The other semi final saw Croatia coming from behind to beat the U.S., thanks to Sandro Sukno’s hat-trick in the fourth period. For the lower places Kazakhstan scored a bit surprising win over Australia, while China took the upper hand in the last quarter against Brazil.
Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia, Italy, Spain and USA advance to semis
In the pool, only one game offered the usual excitement: the Australians challenged the Americans towards the end of the game, but the USA proved too strong. Italy and Spain both scored a rather easy victory and will face each other in the semis. Croatia had some tough moments in the first half against the hosts, but the third period was decisive – their semi final against the USA will be a mouthwatering encounter, too.
Super Final 2012 (Men): Italy and Croatia top respective groups
KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 14) – The last day of the group stage was opened by a scoring festival, courtesy of Croatia, then came three thrillers offering tremendous excitements – a great way to turn into the knock-out phase. Besides Croatia, Italy clinched the top spot of their respective group after a nailbiter against the U.S. – the Americans settled for the second place here –, Spain came second in the other quartet after bouncing back from 1-4 against Australia. To the sorrow of hundreds, the locals lost their second consecutive penalty shootout, this time to China.
Riccione 2012, Diving: "Hat-trick" but not just for the Magic Six!
Amongst all the diving stars at the 14th FINA World Masters Championships in Riccione six divers managed to secure a wonderful three victories each in their respective events but in addition to their hat-trick is another namely: the Iranian, Hassan Lotfi, the Indian Rajendra Kanphade and the Italian Ugo Sansonetti. The Italian was the oldest competitor in the diving events and was victorious in the 1m Springboard event securing a total of 118.50 points while competing in the 90-94 years age-group. The 93 year-old former farmer who had spent many years in Costa Rica is now back in his homeland and is coached by Italian diving legend Klaus Dibiasi. Back in February he had broken his ankle but fortunately he got the green light from his doctor to compete in the Championships on the Adriatic coast of Italy. He had previously also held 10 World Masters records in athletics in the 200m, 400m and 800m too. His 10 children, 25 grandchildren and five great grandchildren were all truly proud of him.
Riccione 2012, Water Polo: Three lots of extra time and two penalty shootouts!
Drama it certainly was and right up until the last second at the 14th FINA World Masters Championships where the 274 matches in Riccione certainly provided fantastic publicity for this discipline of the aquatic sports. Exactly one hundred teams took part (one team had to withdraw at the last minute as it did not have enough players) and those present including FINA President, Dr. Julio C. Maglione, FINA Hon. Secretary and President of the Italian Swimming Federation, Paolo Barelli, and FINA Executive Director, Cornel Marculescu, witnessed a fantastic spectacle the likes of which has seldom been seen before. Of the teams taking part twelve of them were women’s teams competing in four different age-groups while the remainder in the men’s tournament were competing in eight different age-groups. And the finals themselves provided a particularly tense and exciting atmosphere with three of them going into extra time and of those three two went to penalty shoot-outs. In just two age-groups were the winners from Boras in Sweden two years ago able to repeat their triumph and in the women’s tournament there was just one successful title defense.
Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia clinches top spot, Kazakhs lose to Italy in shootout
KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 13) – Kazakhstan came back and forced the game against Italy to a penalty-shootout despite trailing 9-4 early in the third period. The heroic efforts of the hosts were wildly celebrated by the home crowd. This was the real highlight on Day 2 which saw Croatia clinching the top spot after two rounds in Group A and China causing some head-ache for the U.S. team.
Super Final 2012 (Men): China almost upsets World champion Italy
KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 12) - The FINA Water Polo World League Super Final kicked off in the splendid city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. The venue of the summer’s biggest water polo showcase (besides the Olympics, of course) could not be more suitable for the occasion, the 10th anniversary of the first FINA World League Super Final: a fine outdoor pool bathing in sunshine with spectacular views of the magnificent, snow-capped mountains in the background.
The spectacular opening ceremony featured national folk-dancers to the delight of the crowd. On behalf of FINA, Bureau Member and Technical Water Polo Committee Liaison, Dimitris Diathesopoulos addressed those in the stands and at poolside. The event was officially opened by the Mayor of Almaty, Ahmedzan Esimov. The first day of action almost brought the first upset of the tournament as China challenged the Italians for the duration of the game, only to settle a narrow loss to the current World champions.
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