The Men’s World League Super Final tournament will be played in Chelyabinsk, Russia as FINA today announced via Twitter. The city previously hosted last year`s European U17 Championships for women’s teams at the new Stroitel indoor pool and will see a Europe women’s prelims match-up between Russia and Italy being contested on Wednesday. In the men’s tournament Europe’s preliminary phase is down the final two rounds with Montenegro and Serbia, out of group A and B respectively, already sure of their spot in the final eight of this year’s World League campaign. The unbeaten Hungarians are being chased by Italy for the top spot in group C. Both sides will meet in the city of Bari, Italy on March 27 when day 5 of the Europe prelims will be played. The Asia-Oceania (May 9-14 in Auckland, New Zealand) and Americas (May 24-27, city to be decided) representatives are yet to be determined.
The upcoming Super Final will be the first FINA event in men’s senior waterpolo to be held in Russia or rather the former Soviet Union since the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. The latest FINA decions are also opening a series of major events to be held on Russian soil. The city of Kazan, home town of Champions League contender Sintez Kazan, will organise this year’s Summer Universiade, the World Games of students. The 2015 FINA World Championships will also be held in Kazan; both events will provide competitions in men’s and women’s waterpolo.
The tournament might also provide a valuable boost for Russian men’s waterpolo which has been being facing a visible decline since the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The qualification for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games had been missed to be followed by missed participations in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 FINA World Championships. The latest downfall was the missed qualification for the 2012 European Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands so that the new-look team can play their first major event since the 2010 European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia.
Pictured: The Stroitel Pool in Chelyabinsk, Russia