Water Polo is one of the original sports which have been an integral part of the Asian Games since the inaugural edition in 1951 at New Delhi. It is a highly anticipated event, especially since the sport is well received all over the world and battling it out against their Asian counterparts establishes the winning teams on a world stage. The women’s water polo event was introduced only very recently and made its debut in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
Since the years, China has been leading with the honours at the Water Polo event in the Asian Games. They have won seven gold medals along with a total of 13 medals in the Asiad. However, it is Japan who have the most number of medals in the event with a total of 15 medals, but have only managed to win four gold medals. Even Kazakhstan have performed really well in the events winning five gold medals, and have a total of eight medals.
The Asian Games 2018 Water Polo event will be held from 16th August to 1st September. The gold medal events will be held on 21st August and 1st September. Over 195 competitors will be participating in the event from over 10 nations.
The Asian Games Water Polo event will be held at the GBK Aquatic Center in the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex, Jakarta. The GBK Aquatic Center was established in 1960 and has total seating capacity of 8,630.
Asian Games 2018 Water Polo Event
A total of ten nations are participating in the water polo event. They have been named in two groups for the preliminary round of the event. The two groups are:-
Group A: Kazakhstan, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, Thailand.
Group B: Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia (H)
Each of the teams will play a match against each other in a round-robin format. A total of four teams with the highest number of points will qualify from the group of five. The round-robin stage will be followed by the elimination stage in the form of quarter finals, semi-finals and eventually the finals.
Defending Champions and Favourites
The defending champions of the Asian Games water polo event for men is Kazakhstan while the women’s event was won by China at the 2014 Incheon Games. Japan lost the finals in both the men’s and women’s event and were placed second. China finished third in the men’s event while Kazakhstan finished third in the women’s event in the same fashion.
Similar to last year, China, Kazakhstan and Japan are the strongest contenders for winning the medals at the Asian Games 2018 Water Polo events. However, hosts Indonesia and Singapore who are ranked outsiders will be aiming for a top five finish.
India will not be participating at the Asian Games 2018 Water Polo events. Initially the Swimming Federation of India had named a water polo team, but they failed to make the cut in the final list approved by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).