Women's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 1: Aussie Stingers swamp Kiwis on opening night

Water Polo World Cup

Defending champion Australia won big on the opening day of the 15th FINA Women's Water Polo World Cup at QE II Stadium in Christchurch. The Aussie Stingers defeated a gutsy New Zealand 17-4 in the last game of the night in a game where New Zealand scored first and trailed just 4-3 early in the second quarter. However, Australia swam away with the game and the lead in Group B where the world champion United States of America downed European champion Russia in the opening game.

As the night hotted up and the crowd swelled, China had the better of Greece 11-7 after the European team — third at the FINA World League Super Finals last month — blew a first-quarter dominance. In the other Group A match, Canada produced its best form of the year with a 14-10 margin over Hungary, a late inclusion to the event.

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YOG Singapore 2010, Day 3: Swimming, Olympics & Medals – Winning combination for new countries

Youth Olympic Games

There are countries that transformed the act of winning an Olympic medal in Swimming into a “normal” thing: nations like United States, Australia or Russia have in each of the stars earning an Olympic podium a swimmer of talent, but the “quantity” of success necessarily leads to routine. There are many other countries for which the winning combination “Swimming + Olympics + Medals” was never a reality. The first edition of the Youth Olympic Games, taking place in Singapore, is re-balancing the situation: if the inaugural day of finals marked the first Olympic medals in this discipline for Venezuela (Cristian Quintero, bronze in the men’s 400m free) and Czech Republic (Barbora Zavadova, third in the women’s 200m IM), the second session saw the entry of two new countries in the “Olympic club”: Israel (Yakov Toumarkin, second in the men’s 10m backstroke) and Portugal (Ana de Pinho Rodrigues, third in the women’s 50m breaststroke). This is also what the Youth Olympic Games are about: a platform for future performances at the highest level, in an atmosphere where it is possible to “breathe” some of the pressure of the traditional Olympic Games.

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Women's Water Polo World Cup 2010: World's best women's water polo teams head to Christchurch (NZL)

Water Polo World Cup

New Zealand's women's water polo players take on the planet's heavyweights this week at the 15th FINA Women's Water Polo World Cup at Christchurch's QE II Stadium. Ranked outside the elite group, the Kiwis face the daunting task of mixing it with seven of the leading teams as they battle for world supremacy in the year's major test ahead of next year's FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

It's the second time Christchurch has hosted the event after the first in 1988. This four-year spectacle, dominated by the Netherlands with eight titles since its inception in 1979, is headed by reigning champion Australia, who last week bested six of the teams at the 10th Anniversary Tournament in Sydney, celebrating a decade since women's water polo's inclusion to Olympic Games.

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YOG Singapore 2010, Day 2: China enters twice in history

Youth Olympic Games

During the inaugural day of the Swimming programme at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, China made history on two occasions: in the men’s 400m free, Jun Dai was the first ever Youth Olympic champion in Swimming, by getting the gold in 3:50.91. In the third and last final of the session, the team of China also triumphed in the mixed 4x100m free relay. For this event, never contested at an official FINA competition, the composition of the teams includes two boys and two girls, who can swim in whatever order they want. If during preliminaries, tactics changed enormously among the participating countries, in the decisive race, all the eight finalists except Hong Kong chose the formula “one boy, two girls, one boy”. With equivalent strategies, China (Bowei Sun, Yi Tang, Lan Liu and Jianbin He) got the gold in 3:31.34, defeating Australia (second in 3:31.69), and France (third in 3:35.90).

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YOG Singapore 2010, Day 1: Spectacular Opening Ceremony celebrates Youth, Sport and Culture

Youth Olympic Games

The inaugural edition of the Youth Olympic Games, in Singapore (SIN), is officially open. After a spectacular Opening Ceremony, where Youth, Sport and Culture were the key concepts, the best young athletes of the planet will start competing in 26 sports, until August 26. The President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, addressed them a strong message: "You will learn the difference between winning and being a champion. To win, you merely have to cross the finish line first. To be a champion, you have to inspire admiration for your character, as well as for your physical talent. You have to compete in spirit of fair play, respecting your opponents and the rules — without doping or any other unfair advantage".

Held in the breathtaking scenario of Singapore’s Marina Bay, surrounded by the city skyscrapers and the now emblematic Marina Bay Sands complex, the show combined light and music with original choreographies and some innovation in terms of the Olympic protocol at Opening Ceremonies. The parade of the athletes was, for example, not done in the traditional way; this time, the competitors entered in a block in one of the first “chapters” of the Ceremony. A bit later, the flags of the 205 nations present in Singapore made their formal entry in the Marina Bay. Besides the usual athletes and officials’ oath, coaches also swear to respect the Olympic ideals during the competition.

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