Kazan 2015: With a pacemaker in the heart, water polo is an eternal love
The Happy Hippos were not so happy this morning. No, they are not real hippopotami, they are water polo players from Hungary, this is the name of their club, reminding the team members of the founding fathers who, well, got a little bit wilder and heavier once their heydays had been over, but still wanted to play their beloved game.
So, our heroic Hippos tried to score a big margin win against Volga 45 (RUS) in the 45+ age-group in the Masters water polo tournament but they had to settle for a 12-3 victory. This is something you always had in the good old days. Counting. Goal difference, semi-final pairings… Their biggest rival in the group, the St. Petersburg Masters won 17-6 against Volga on the opening day. Then the Hungarians drew 10-10 with the Russians, so goal difference seemed to be the decisive factor in reaching the top spot in the group.
Kazan 2015: Though injured, Minister Leonov swims his 50m free in Kazan
Tatarstan’s Minister of Youth and Sports, Vladimir Leonov came on the hard way. The rocky one. Actually, he went through something similar what Japan’s star swimmer Kosuke Hagino experienced a couple of months ago.
Mr. Leonov biked in the countryside, around Kazan and had a bad fall. He broke his lower arm and injured his legs – like Hagino, who were unable to compete in Kazan – but still, on Wednesday, when swimmers of heat 42 (age group: 35-39) in the 50m free were called at the FINA World Masters Championships, he marched from the last call room to the pool deck.
He set his goggles, his cap, the starting block on Lane 6, took his marks, then – go! Though it was inevitable that he is off his peak form – he wore a bandage on his right arm – he covered the distance in 28.85 seconds, trying to be on full speed. Once out of the pool, the 38 year-old Minister might find it harder to walk back to the locker room than swimming a pool length, but as a former water polo player, Mr. Leonov has surely got used to bearing pain.
SWC 2015, Moscow Day 2: Hosszu (HUN) showed her best in collecting medals, Seebohm (AUS) – in earning FINA points
At the second day of the first leg of FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup, held in Moscow, the Hungarian Katinka Hosszu delivered the best performance with four more medals in four races, including two gold.
Hosszu emerged victorious in 100 m free, clocking 54,10. Natalia Lovtsova and Veronika Popova of Russia completed the podium (54,62 and 54,73 respectively). The “Iron lady” prevailed again in 400 m IM, touching in 4.36,25 with a huge advantage over Nguyen Thi Ahn Vien from Vietnam (4.40,79) and Lara Grangeon from France (4.41,54). Katinka didn’t manage to obtain another gold in 100m backstroke. She was 0,58 seconds slower than Australian Emily Seebohm (58,88). Actually, it was Seebohm who showed the best female result of the meet with 961 FINA points. In 400 freestyle Hosszu came third (4.08,28). Shao Yiwen claimed gold (4.07,30). Diletta Carly from Italy touched second (4.08,12).
Kazan 2015: Ibone (85): “Before the dives I’m still nervous”
If you have household names in Masters diving, Ibone Belausteguigoitia is definitely one of them: she earned more than 30 gold medals at Masters Worlds and more than 130 titles in the US Masters circuit.
Though always being a ‘threat’ for announcers of any given competitions – just try to pronounce her name, clearly showing her Basque origins as she was born in Bilbao, Spain –, she is one of the most popular participants of the events. She’s just entered the 85-89 age group – here she is the oldest member of the women’s diving field. But she is still in great shape, or rather: she is in amazing shape!
Kazan 2015: The Indian star of the diving meet
Rajendrakumar Kahnpade didn’t have too much practice before the competition. In fact, he arrived to Kazan just last evening, today he came to the pool, had a couple of jumps, then stepped up to the 1m springboard to perform his dives.
Which he learns from a paper, before each attempt.
Well, it’s rather a kind of repetition for the 62 years old. He had few competitions in the past, however, just to be on the safe side, he carefully studies that sheet from time to time. It’s the official list of dives. And it’s good to have them at hand, since Mr. Kahnpade dives only in competitions, more precisely, solely at the FINA World Masters Championships. Between them – no diving. Not a single session. Or dive. “We don’t have any facilities where I can train” he explains.
SWC 2015, Moscow Day 1: Tired after the Worlds but still champions
The gold medallists of FINA World championships in Kazan stood their ground at the first leg of FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup in Moscow – this season in 50m-pool. The times were not as fast as just a few days ago and the competitors felt themselves more relaxed, but still motivated.
In the first final of the day, South African Chad Le Clos touched first in 100m free clocking 48.16. Nikita Lobintsev and Danila Izotov of Russia came second and third respectively (48.48 and 48.59).
On his trip from Kazan to Moscow, Le Clos said: “I had a very short break. I arrived to Moscow at 2am last night. The facilities are great here, it’s always a pleasure to come to ‘Olympiyskiy’. I have good support here. That’s why I feel really comfortable. Besides, it’s the best personal time for me in 100m free, so definitely I’m happy with my performance”.
Kazan 2015: Rather swim than walk
While participants of the men’s breaststroke races left the last call room as the heats followed each other in quick succession – 30 heats were held alone in this event! – a nice, old gentleman was sitting at the exit. His walking stick was just leant to the chair he got, and he silently waited for the end of the competition. Well, in his age (85) and with his minor disability, Peter Couttie found it better to get the closest possible to the pool deck, since he was called soon to the victory ceremony of the 100m free event. And if you travel to Kazan from the remote Australia, one thing is for sure: you simply cannot miss your big occasion when you receive your gold medal.
The new world champion is coming from the south western side of the continent, he did running in his heydays, then took on triathlon where was admitted to swimming. “There was no one in my hometown who would teach me swimming” he says. “So I did it on my own. Read books, tried some techniques. It worked somehow.”
Kazan 2015: And here come the Masters
Though the FINA World Championships are over in Kazan, the designated venues are still busy with competitions of the aquatic disciplines. As a novelty, the FINA World Masters Championships are held together with the “big event” – swimming, diving and water polo competitions are staged immediately after the conclusion of the elite champs, while open water and synchro have already been finished.
Two “real” World Championships venues accommodate the Masters participants: one was the magnificent open water course in the Kazanka River (the other is the diving facility in the Aquatic Palace). The usual 3km race saw hundreds of participants, the oldest ones represented Russia, Stanislav Viazovskii and Igor Brovin belonged to the 80-84 years old age group – and in fact they clocked even better times than the winner in the 75-79 years old category! (Viazovskii covered the course in 1:08.22.8 hours.)
Kazan 2015 sets benchmark for Budapest 2017
At the end of the most successful ever FINA World Championships, FINA OC Kazan 2015 and the Budapest 2017 Organising Committee hosted a press conference at the Kazan Arena, thus concluding in the best possible way the Russian rendezvous and passing the relay to the Maygar capital for the major FINA event in two-years’ time.
After 75 events – a new record – in the programme, 31 countries on the podium, and new nations emerging at the highest level, the Kazan showcase came to an end in a festive Closing Ceremony, attended by the Prime Minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, but also by the leader of the Government of the next host, Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
Swimming, Day 8: USA wins “Team Trophy” in Kazan
Katie Ledecky (USA) and Sun Yang (CHN) were the best swimmers of the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan (RUS), after the completion of the eight days of competition. The US star collected five golds and three World Records, while the Chinese champion goes home with two world titles and a silver medal. The team of the United States also won the overall “Team Trophy” of the competition, after being at the top of the medals’ table, with 8 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze medals, for a total of 23 podium presences. However, since 1998, this is the second worse result for US, after the 22 medals in Rome 2009 (but with 10 golds on the counter).
To this US relatively modest result contributed the excellent performances of Australia, China and Great Britain, the next ranked countries in the medal’s table, with 16, 13 and 9 awards respectively. In terms of comparison, Australia had only 13 medals in Barcelona (but three golds in 2013 against 7 now), China was at 9, and Great Britain had only placed one athlete in the podium! In a medal chart with 23 countries, new entries included Jamaica, Singapore and Argentina.
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