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?31 of 52 LEN members present in the history of Water Polo Europeans

News & Stories from Belgrade – 13 January Belgrade

Since the first European Water Polo Championships in 1926 in Budapest 31 of today’s 52 LEN member federations have been represented at least once in the 32 editions.

The first four countries participating in 1926 were the host and eventual winner Hungary, Sweden, Germany and Belgium. The actual number for participation was 32 with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) included which is no longer existing.

In the women’s tournament altogether 20 LEN member federations have been represented in the 16 editions since the inauguration in Oslo in 1985. From these 20 countries Norway is the only country which entered only in the women’s event.

The 31 federations are: AUT – BEL – BUL – CRO – DEN – ESP – FIN – FRA – GBR – GER/FRG – GEO – GRE – HUN – IRL – ITA – MKD – MLT – MNE – NED – NOR – POL – ROM – RUS/URS – SLO – SRB/YUG/SCG – SUI – SVK – SWE – TCH/CZE – TUR – UKR

Greece men forms almost a “club team“

The men’s national side of Greek head coach Theodoros Vlachos at the 32nd European Water Polo Championships is more or less a “club team”. Eleven of the 13 players belong to a single club: Olympiacos Piraeus – there also Vlachos is the boss on the bench. Only goalkeeper Konstantinos Flegkas (Ydreikos) and captain Christos Afroudakis (Vouliagmeni Athens) are from other clubs.

The women’s team is also concentrated in the Greek capital and its surroundings. The 13 players represent only two clubs, seven are from Euro League winner Olympiacos, six from Vouliagmeni.

Twelve of the 13 players from host Serbia however have contracts abroad. Five play in Italy as well as in Hungary, one in Romania and one in Turkey. With four Serbian players Champions League winner Pro Recco, Italy has the biggest block. Only youngster Nikola Jaksic (who will celebrate his 19th birthday during the championships on 17 January) plays “at home” at VK Partisan Belgrade – so far