Macedonians upset Germany and force way into Olympic contention
Edmonton (April 5) - Montenegro and Spain won through to the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament for men by winning their respective groups undefeated at the Kinsmen Sports Centre here. But the real action on day five was in the second game of the day when Germany forgot to bring its A game against the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. After leading 4-2 early in the third period, Germany’s goals dried up, the extra-man advantage conversion rate was none from eight and the Macedonians smelled blood and went in for the kill.
MKD, thanks to three Miroslav RANDJIKJ goals, including the last two of the game — scored late in the third quarter — held out the hapless Germans and denied them a shot at the quarter-finals with a 6-4 victory. MKD had snuck into the quarters on the strength of that match, finishing with four points, equal to Germany, but finishing ahead on the first tiebreak, the result between the two. A stunned auditorium was left aghast at the result of the 10th-placed team from the Beijing Olympics not having a shot on day six of this competition. Not at London is one thing, but not even in the quarter-finals of the qualification tournament is another.
Greece upsets Germany in critical Group A encounter
Edmonton (April 4) - Greece threatened Montenegro on Tuesday and beat Germany 11-9 on Wednesday, pointing to a second-placed finished in the powerful Group A at the men’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at Kinsmen Sports Centre in Edmonton. Greece had the better of the game throughout and stunned Germany with a four-goal margin midway through the third period.
The result was far different from the 9-6 win by Germany at January’s European Championships and heralds Greece’s return to the international stage after a few years in the wilderness. The return of the old stars has spurred the team along and the intensity level was definitely lifted in the game against Germany.
Greece piles the pressure on Montenegro
Edmonton (April 3) - Greece nearly threw a spanner into the works when it came amazingly close to upsetting Montenegro on day three of the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament for men at the Kinsmen Sports Centre here today. Montenegro, playing in Group A, is the raging favourite and expected to dominate the event. Greece disagreed, levelled the game twice in the final and had the final shot of the match on extra-man advantage and sent the ball wide of the post.
It was an amazing game in which the potent firepower of Montenegro was kept in the bunker, mainly through Greece’s stoic defence. Twice in the dying minutes Greece repelled the Montenegro assault, showing that it is a chance come Friday’s all-important quarterfinals, which will decide the final four in London. Montenegro led 2-1, 4-2 and 6-4 at the breaks in a game where Mladan JANOVIC (MNE) and Christos AFROUDAKIS (GRE) excelled with three goals each. Montenegro has won three times and for Greece it was a second one-goal loss in three outings.
Romania heads Greece in see-sawing encounter
Edmonton (April 2) - Romania set its sights firmly on a trip to London after a scintillating 10-9 victory over Greece on day two of the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament for men at the Kinsmen Sports Centre here today. In the “Group of Death” — Group A — Romania made up for a first-day loss while Greece has a first loss after a big start on day one.
The thriller saw both teams take the lead four times. The match was levelled at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 with the winning goal coming just inside the final three minutes. It was edge-of-your-seat stuff with the over-productive Cosmin RADU claiming four goals for the Romanians and Christos AFROUDAKIS with three for the Greeks. The real story will unfold on quarter-final day on Friday but this was edgy play, high-powered and just the sort of action both teams crave in Olympic year.
Germany strikes major blow in hunt for Olympic berth
Edmonton (April 1) - The hunt is on for the final four places at the London Olympic Games and 11 men’s teams are competing for the honour at the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Edmonton, Canada. In the massive Kinsmen Centre, host to the 1978 Commonwealth Games for aquatics, competition started in earnest with the loss of one team missing. Venezuela was a late withdrawal through travel difficulties, meaning Canada was robbed of its opening-day clash. However, Germany and Romania provided the best competition of the day in the tough Group A. There is much hype over who will flow through to the Olympics with Group A containing many top contenders.
Germany seemed to have control of much of the match against Romania but allowed Romania to level in the third and get ahead early in the fourth before retaking the lead at 9-8 with 3:37 remaining in the game. Both teams took timeouts but it was Romania who scored to level at 11 seconds on the clock. Germany was not dejected and scored the winner with five second left. Both goals were scored off deflections and German captain Marc Politze was involved in both, first as the defender and then as the scorer of the last goal. In other Group A games, European No 2 Montenegro dispensed with the Netherlands 12-6 and Greece crushed the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 12-2.
Promising performances at Japan's Junior Olympic Cup
The 34th Junior Olympic Cup, a famous aquatics event organised by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), concluded on a successful note at the Tokyo-Tatsumi International Swimming Center (T-TISC) on March 30, 2012 in Tokyo (JPN). The four-day competition gathered 3'638 junior swimmers (1'907 boys and 1'731 girls) from 887 clubs from all over Japan to compete in 25m events.
A new national record, five high school records, one junior high school record, two elementary school records and 19 meet records were set at the event. Among girls, Miki Uchida established a new national record in the 50m freestyle (24.58). She is a member of Itoman Swimming School Tatebayashi. Among boys, Yusuke Kudo broke the high school record in both the 50m and 100m backstroke, posting 23.97 and 51.70, respectively. The young talent swims at WaterMates Swim Club. Both Uchida and Kudo were designated Swimmer of the Cup. The Itoman Swimming School won the combined title of the Cup.
Brazil in top shape at South American Swimming Championships
Brazil won 72 medals at the South American Swimming Championships taking place in Belem (BRA) from March 11-25, 2012. The biennial aquatics championships bring together all nations from the CONSANAT, the South American Swimming Confederation tom compete in Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Open Water Swimming.
Brazilians swimmers captured 51 medals (26 gold, 19 silver and six bronze medals). Home hero Cesar Cielo brought more gold to his name, winning five events and posting this season's best time in the 50m butterfly: 23s26.
FINA in mourning - Prof. Winton Arthur Hawksworth (RSA)
FINA announces with great sadness the loss of Prof. Winton Arthur Hawksworth (RSA), member of the FINA Doping Control Review Board (DCRB) since its creation in 1999. After a short illness, Prof. Hawksworth passed away on March 26, 2012. He is survived by his wife Pauline, his four children and five grandchildren.
In a message addressed to FINA, Dr. Andrew Pipe, Chairman of the DCRB, recalled a “wonderful friend and colleague, a superb scientist, and an educator who influenced the lives of thousands of students in South Africa and so many others who were touched by his generosity of spirit. His warmth and gentle good humour will be missed by all on the FINA DCRB and his many other friends in the FINA family”.
To his family and friends, FINA addresses its sincere condolences.
Swimmer Spyros Gianniotis (GRE) will be the first torchbearer
10km open water swimming world champion Spyros Gianniotis (GRE) will have the honour of being the first torchbearer of the Olympic flame for the 2012 Olympic Games in London (GBR). On the traditional ceremony, to be held in Ancient Olympia, on May 10, Gianniotis will receive the flame from the High Priestess, after it has been lit by the sun’s rays, and will initiate the 3000km relay of the flame within Greece.
In an announcement made by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, it was also revealed that the flame will be passing through 43 cities in the country where the Olympic Games were born, and will be carried by approximately 500 torchbearers. After a final ceremony on May 17 in the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens (where were held the first modern Games, in 1896), the flame will be given to the LOCOG delegation before flying to Great Britain.
First impressions and blistering marks at London Aquatics Centre
Many outstanding swimmers competed in the prelim heats of the British Nationals and the top 8 were seeded directly to an international finals session at the Olympic test event in the London Aquatics Centre, the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. Most of these athletes came to see the venue and to familiarize themselves with the iconic new venue that will be the highlight of most of their careers.
Day 1, Saturday (March 3, 2012) - World record holder Paul Biederman (GER) easily won the 400m freestyle event in a time of 3:50.95 easily defeating Velimir Stjepanov (SRB) who finished 2.29 seconds back. Biederman's time is the 18th fastest of the new year and a far cry from the 3:44.14 time he posted at the FINA World Championships last summer in Shanghai. Veteran Olympian Markus Rogan (AUT), currently training in the USA with Coach David Salo swam to a first place finish in the 400m IM, about 14 seconds off the world record set by Michael Phelps in this event. Ryan Lochte (USA) won the world championships last summer in a time of 4:07.13 but has yet to swim the event in 2012. Rogan's prelim time of 4:17.18 was faster than his finals posting of 4:17.60 and he now has the 9th & 10th fastest performances of the new year. German's Hendik Feldwehr looked smooth in his race against LI Xiayan of China cruising to a 1:00.48 and collecting his FINA A qualifying time. His swim is the 4th fastest of the year, but some distance from Alex Dale Oen's (NOR) fastest time of 2011, 58.71 set at the summer world championships.
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