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European Championships Qualifying

European Championships Qualifying Water Polo Tournament GB U17 In Istanbul, Turkey.

Following Great Britain’s 3rd place finish in the recent Slowianka 6 team International tournament in Poland the U17 squad travelled to Istanbul on 7th Tuesday May to compete in one of the 4 European Championship qualify tournaments.

GB had drawn a qualifying group with Russia, Bulgaria, Switzerland and Turkey. The top 2 teams would qualify for the finals in Malta during September. 

On Thursday GB played favorites Russia first, holding them to just a single goal deficit at the end of Q1. Q2 was drawn 4-4 with Tom Whiting of Newton Abbot scoring a penalty. Russia stepped up their game winning the Q3 4-0 with GB fighting back to draw Q4 2-2. The 6-11 score line was an improvement from a year ago when GB lost 3-14. The Russian side train twice a day and had a 3 weeks camp prior to this competition whereas the GB squad had a monthly weekend camp at Cardiff in comparison.

On the Friday morning GB played the first of 2 games on this day against Bulgaria. GB won Q1 1-0 and Q2 2-1 to lead 3-1 at half time. Q3 was won 4-1 and Q4 drawn 1-1 to win 8-3. That evening GB played Switzerland making a fast start winning Q1 5-0 and Q2 3-0 to have the game won at half time. Q3 was drawn 2-2 and Q4 drawn 1-1 giving a 11-3 winning score.

The final game was against hosts Turkey on the Saturday with only the winners going through to the finals. GB had brought a lot of family and supporters to the tournament but Turkey had vast home support and won Q1 5-3 and Q2 5-0 to lead at half time 10-3. GB rallied to lose Q3 3-2 and draw Q4 3-3. The 8 -16 defeat mean GB finished in 3rd place and thus not qualify. Within the ranks of the Turkish team was a player who already was a professional water polo player. 

Ironically if GB had been drawn in the group with France, Belarus, Poland, Israel and Ireland GB may well have qualified as beat Belarus, who finished 2nd, 12-6 in the recent tournament in Poland. The GB coaching team was complimented by the other National team coaches as they felt this was the best GB Junior team in recent years. It has been many years since a Male GB team has qualified for the finals. Tom was in the starting 7 players for every game. Failure to qualify is the end of a 3 year training cycle for the U17 team but Tom has decided to stay within the GB set up and train with the U19 squad who has their European Qualifiers in 2014.  

There are photos of the 4 GB games on the Turkish Water Polo Federation Facebook page. Enter ‘Turkiye Sutopu Ferderasyonu’ into the search section on facebook. Go to photos and then albums, Tom wore the No 3 hat.

European Qualifiers final placings:

1st Russia

2nd Turkey

3rd GB

4th Bulgaria

5th Switzerland

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