The Split 2022 LEN European Water Polo Championships saw 28 national teams battle it out for six medals during 15 days of fascinating female and male action in the pool.
The event saw sell-out crowds of 9000 packed into the Spaladium Arena and while the action helped further fuel the passion of long-term water polo supporters, it also helped captivate a new generation of fans.
To mark one month since the dramatic conclusion to the event – which saw hosts Croatia claim the men’s title and the Spanish women defend their European crown – we look back on the success of Split 2022 and assess its potential long-term impact on the sport.
Josip Varvodić – LEN First Vice President and Croatian Swimming Federation President – who was present throughout Split 2022.
“The crowds watching sport in Croatia are amazing,” remarked Varvodić.
“I really think it can (have a lasting legacy globally), we are working on improving the popularity and you can see some counties like Israel and France are really growing up fast.
“They are more involved in Champions League, they’re preparing for the Olympics. They’ve needed a few years but it makes me think that we can do it in other countries as well.
“It’s about the culture of playing, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro have a 100 year culture of playing water polo so of course it’s popular.
“But I think if you educate coaches, promote more in the media and have a bigger reach in other countries then you can have more of the same effect.
“We’re trying to do this throughout Europe and also the world because we need the big countries like the USA in men’s water polo and China to be popular in water polo.”
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Captain Husain Al–Musallam – FINA President – who attended the Split 2022 European Championships in Croatia.
“The venue was great and I loved the energy from the spectators and fans. I’m happy to see over 9000 people coming here to enjoy the sport,” he told LEN TV.
“The rest of the world loves water polo but there are some obstacles and Fina’s duty is to try to minimise such obstacles with travel between the different nations and we are working to find solutions.
“European has an advantage because of the geographical location within Europe it’s very short distances and easy to make club and European Championships but on the other hand, “I think it’s very important to see a high-level European water polo because it reflects the positive impact on the rest of the world.
“Europe demonstrates a real love for the water polo and we need to transfer this nice beautiful sport to the world to be replicate what is the European standard.”
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