Rowie Webster: I hope we inspire the next generation of water polo players here

On the first competition day of FINA Water Polo World Cup a press-conference dedicated to the very first big water polo competition in Surgut took place at a press-center of the tournament. The speakers of the press-conference were president of Russian Water Polo Federation Alexey Vlasenko, first vice-president of Russian Water Polo Federation Evgeniy Sharonov, mayor of Surgut Vadim Shuvalov, acting Director of the Department of Physical Culture and Sports of Ugra Sofia Konukh and executive director of FINA Water Polo World Cup 2018 Valery Radchenko. Besides the officials the meeting was joined by some players and coaches of participating teams representing Russia, Australia, China, New Zealand and USA.

“I would love to thank our governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova who made it possible for us to host FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup here. I travel the world and see how this kind of tournaments are organized in other countries. And here, in Russia, we make them as good as the Olympic games. And I am really proud of Russia”, – started Alexey Vlasenko.

“It is not a rule that men’s tournaments are better than the women’s ones. Not at all. Women’s water polo is more uninhibited and leaves more place for different combinations. There are more interesting tactical attacks in it than you can see in men’s water polo. Also this tournament is important because it is one of the stages of selecting teams for the next Championships. So we hope all the teams will show their best games”, – added Evgeny Sharonov.

“We are utterly grateful to Natalia Komarova for making the decision to entrust Surgut is hosting Water Polo World Cup. People of Surgut are really hospitable and I am happy they have an opportunity to watch the sport they only had a chance to see on TV before. I hope this tournament will draw children to participate in it themselves. And that will provide the Russian team with some new talents. I see it as a main goal of hosting the World Cup”, – said Vadim Shuvalov.

“Water polo is a very young sport in Ugra. Its history starts only in 2008. And for sure such tournaments are important when it comes to kids. We want to create a friendly and festive atmosphere here to motivate children come and play water polo. And making Surgut one more place in Ugra for young athletes to train and to be successful in water polo. It is a great thing to make the geography of this sport wider and the sport itself more popular”, – told Sofia Konukh.

“Yesterday we were saying our goodbyes to the participants of FIS Roller Ski World Cup. That event got a lot of positive feedback from FIS and Federation’s officials. I hope FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup will be as good as we expect. “UgraMegaSport” has a lot of experience in hosting such big events. We are really grateful to Surgut and Russian Water Polo Federation as they have done everything to meet the highest standards of FINA”, – shared Valery Radchenko.

After that teams had a chance to speak their minds about the tournament and the sport venue they are playing in. Russia was the first one to speak.

“I also want to thank the Organizing Committee for making everything perfect and creating all the conditions for us to reach our best shape and show our best result. There are no weak teams on this tournament. But we are determined to show the best we can. You did everything you could and now is our turn”, – promised Alexander Gaydulov.

The head coach of USA team Adam Krikorian told about their feelings of the World Cup: “I want to thank everyone for hosting us. We are excited to be here. Some of the European teams had European Championships earlier this summer which was their big event. For us – USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia – this is our big event. It’s good to be back here, in Ugra. Everything has been great by far. The pool is beautiful. I think every play is going to be tough. Especially when we get to the last ones”.

“It always amazes me how great the sporting facilities are here. To come somewhere where sport and water polo are so appreciated makes it very fun for us, players, to come here and compete”, – said Maggie Steffens.

“I am from Croatia and I was a goalkeeper back in my career just like Evgeniy Sharonov. We played together many years ago. In a few days we will play against the Russian team and who knows maybe there will be penalties. A few month ago there was a Football Championship in Russia. And there was a game Russia against Croatia and the goalkeeper was an important person back than”, – joked the coach of the China team Zoran Kacic.

“It is a long way from where we are form. We are honored to travel to a place we might not necessarily ever come to. And you have hosted us with a smile. I hope we inspire the next generation of water polo players here”, – concluded Rowie Webster of Australia.