A report by our intern Emilia Beutel
The U17 women’s water polo European Championships take place every two years. Here, young women from all over the world compete for this title. This event wants to give young women a platform to show their skills and compete against young women all over the world. The first U17 Women´s European Championships were held in Portugal in 2005 and were won by Hungary. Young women can see it as a stepping stone to higher age-group competitions and eventually the women’s national teams of their countries. It plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality in sports, specifically in water polo. By offering young women the same opportunities as their male counterparts, the tournament encourages more girls to take up water polo and pursue their passion for the sport. Furthermore, increased visibility and recognition for women´s water polo at the U17 level help break down barriers and stereotypes, fostering a more inclusive sporting landscape. This year´s Championship was organised by LEN European Aquatics and is held in Manisa (Turkey). It ends on August 5.
After tough and exciting games in the group stage, the best teams have reached the final rounds and are now playing for the places of the 16 best teams. The matches for places 13 to 16 have already been completed. Ireland is in 16th place, Switzerland is in 15th, Romania is in 14th, and Great Britain is in 13th.
Malta has a crossover with Italy. The Italian team won 20-3 against Malta to send them into the battle for places nine to twelve. Nevertheless, the Maltese team put in a good performance. Yesterday, they played the Semifinals for places 9 to 12 against France. After losing to France 11-4, they had to face Serbia today. Sadly, Malta lost 11-6 against Serbia, and now they are in 12th place. France had to play Slovakia for 9th and 10th places. After a 13-11 score for France, France is in 10th place, and Slovakia is in 9th.
In addition, the teams that will compete against each other in the quarterfinals have already been determined. The first match of the quarterfinals will be played by Greece. Their opponent was Croatia. Spain also played against Turkey, and the Netherlands played against Italy. Many of the favourites from the last few years will be playing in the quarterfinals, which means that we are in for a very exciting quarterfinal.
After the matches in the quarterfinals, the matches for places 5 to 8 will take place today and tomorrow. Croatia and Israel will meet for the first time, as will Turkey and the Netherlands, who won the European Championships in 2021.
The last four teams are known and will play for first to fourth place tonight. There, Greece will face Spain, and Hungary will face Italy. There are exciting games ahead, and Greece will be fighting hard after narrowly losing the gold medal match in 2021. Tomorrow will be the final match at 21:00 in the evening, and the match for the bronze medal will start at 19:30.
After exciting matches in the U17 Women´s European Championship, next week will start the U17 Men´s European Championship. The host will also be Manisa, as in the U17 Women´s European Championship. The first matchday on August 8 will be an exciting start, especially for the Maltese boys, because they will play Germany on the first matchday of a total of seven. The match will start at noon, and it will be an exciting time for the Maltese U17 team. On August 9, they will also face Georgia at noon; their last match in the group stage is against the Ukraine on August 10 at 9 a.m. If they try hard, they can reach the eight finals like the women’s team did, so we wish you good luck!