Super Final 2012 (Men): Spain upsets Italy, meets Croatia in final

World League

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.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Croatia, Italy, Spain and USA advance to semis

World League

KAZAKHSTAN, Almaty (June 15) – Shortly before the quarter final games, a touching event was held as a memorial to the most noted water polo figure in Kazakhstan, Alexander Kryukov (his son, Andriy is member of the FINA Technical Water Polo Committee and is chief organiser of this Super Final event). The legendary player and coach was a key figure of the sport in the Soviet era and also did a tremendous job after Kazakhstan had become an independent state, and was among those who fought wholeheartedly to the recognition and Olympic inclusion of women’s water polo. At the memorial banquet a short documentary was shown and after the film FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu addressed the representatives of the local sporting life and FINA Family.

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.

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Super Final 2012 (Men): Italy and Croatia top respective groups

World League

ITA vs USA - credit: Saken NigmashevKAZAKHSTAN, 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.

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Riccione 2012, Diving: "Hat-trick" but not just for the Magic Six!

Masters

credit: Giorgio Scala/DeepbluemediaAmongst 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.

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Riccione 2012, Water Polo: Three lots of extra time and two penalty shootouts!

Masters

credit: Georgio Scala/DeepbluemediaDrama 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.

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