I associate January mainly as a month with handball and ski jumping. However, January is also a month in which championships in sport a bit less popular in Poland happen- in water polo.
Do you know it? Do you like?
Water polo generally
I don’t watch water polo regularly, but it happens to me. And I think this is really exciting sport!
I regret a bit that it’s rather a niche discipline in Poland. My interest has increased due to Croatian and Serbian languages studies – in the Balkan countries water polo is very popular, and national teams from the region always fight for medals. The same as the national teams of Hungary, Italy, Spain or Greece, where sport is also popular. Example? I watched the matches of last year’s World Championships on ferries, just sailing between the Greek islands.
Interestingly, the history of water polo dates back to the late nineteenth century and comes from Scotland and England, which are countries that are not strong in this sport at present. It was invented as a kind of ‘water rugby’. It was also one of the first sports of modern olympic games, since 1900, however women’s water polo only since 2000.
Live participation in a water polo match is still ahead of me. I regret that I was not able to get tickets for matches during the Olympics in London. I hunted for them, but I came up with this idea a little late.
European Championships in Budapest
Currently, (January 12-26) European Championships are taking place. In Budapest. It’s a great travel proposition that combines matches and visiting a beautiful city. And the consumption of e.g. langos or chimney cake or other Hungarian specialities. Budapest is quite easy to reach. You can fly from Poznań by Ryanair, by Wizzair from Katowice and Warsaw, and of course by LOT. It is also worth thinking about the train, there is direct one from Warsaw.
What’s interesting (and different from for example in volleyball or handball), it is the event for both male and female teams. And even more important, because the winner (or the highest ranked team who has not yet qualified) will get the Olympic qualification.
The matches are played in the Duna (Danube) Arena – a modern complex opened in February 2017. Currently, the championships are at stages 1/8 and 1/4 of the final.
More information about the championships can be found here.
It is also worth remembering that the next European championships will take place in January 2022 in Croatian city Split (which would be quite nice to see without the crowds of the summer season).
I also recommend planning to watch one of the water polo matches during this year’s Olympic Games. Matches are starting already on 25th July. Women’s final is planned for August 8th, and final of men on August 9th.