Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gwangju, South Korea.— France is the new king of the FINA men’s beach water polo exhibition series staged at the Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju.

Playing Argentina in the final of the inaugural seven-day series, France surged to a 7-0 lead and never relinquished its superior position, turning at 9-3. The margin was even bigger in the second half as France cruised to a 22-17 victory that earned a well-deserved diploma to signify the momentous occasion.

France’s Bogdan Cutovic said it was an excellent substitute for not qualifying for the main event.

“It’s great. I don’t know what to say. I mean it’s really exciting. It’s a great experience to play beach water polo, so it’s really great.” 

Ken Kuroda (JPN), the chair of the FINA Technical Water Polo Committee’s beach water polo sub-committee, said: “This was a good idea by FINA to give the chance to play here for the first time. Water polo is an excellent sport to have fun and it gave us a chance to trial beach water polo.

“We saw how to apply the rules, which you can’t do unless you do this, and we will make some changes.

“The players were enjoying it, as well,” he said.


French player Nicolas Provenzano said it was a ”really good experience” and that his team improved considerably during the tournament.

“At my age I will play normal water polo, but it would be a good idea to incorporate it into our competition. We play a one-on-one game, which is fun. This is difficult against the biggest teams.”

Earlier, Canada nearly allowed China back into the match before winning 19-18. Canada was 19-15 ahead at 2:59 and China was nine seconds from equalising, the final buzzer offering relief to Canada. Harrison Henning was the leading scorer with six goals. Canada led 13-9 at halftime.

Canadian head coach Ethan D’Souza was happy with the victory and the tournament.

 “The game was good. It was a lot harder to play the same team twice in the tournament, specially so close to each other. So we knew it was going to be really tight. The guys came out really good in the first half, but the Chinese fought back really, really well.

“It was tighter in the second half, but our guys played very good press defence throughout the game. So they created a lot of opportunities and it came down to finishing and finished really well.

“We have to accept the result. I’d rather be in the gold, but we brought a really young team — a lot of juniors. So playing against some masters players was really good experience for them. We’re happy to have this experience in the wonderful environments. Korea’s been great.”
It’s now to be seen whether Canada will take this discipline to the frozen wastes of Canada or settle for warm indoor complexes to reflect the beach culture.