Egypt and Malaysia emerged victorious after securing gold medals in the Men’s and Women’s categories respectively of the 2016 Nations Cup Water Polo event. Sri Lanka secured the silver medal for both categories, while India and Maldives were the bronze medalist in the Men’s and Women’s categories respectively. The Water Polo event was postponed to Tuesday (Male) and Thursday (Female) after water contamination in the swimming pool forced officials to conduct a thorough clean up before allowing any events to be held at the venue.
Men’s Water Polo Category
In a long two-day stretch of matches, only 3 teams out of the 9 made it into the finals for the Men’s Water Polo event. Sri Lanka, Egypt, and India fought hard and proud to plunge directly into the finals.
After Sri Lanka had their last preliminary match against the Kenyans, they proceeded to the finals and prepared for their opponents – India. India had just dominated both their matches in the previous day and were ready to repeat their wins. The Lankans however had a different plan. In a very close match with two equally qualified teams, fighting for the pride of their nation, Lanka eventually took the match at 8-2. All wasn’t over yet for the Indians as they would later go on to fight the mighty Egyptians.
Then came the Egyptians for their first match of the night against Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans might’ve been tired from their previous 30 minute match, but you couldn’t see that in their eyes which were burning with love for their country. The supporter rallied behid their team throughout the evening with the usual chants of “Come on Lanka, come on!”. However, despite the use of many tactics and even though they were driven by Captain Aqeel, they couldn’t fight the might of the Egyptians.
The Lankans began the game very strongly, leading 3-0 for the first half, but slowly fell behind as the Egyptians picked up their game. In the end the Egyptians took the game at 6-4. The Egyptians’ winning streak did not end there as they faced India in the next match. The Indians fought long and hard but were no match for the experienced Egyptians. Fighting as hard as they could, the Indians lost at 1-11. Making Egypt the gold medalists of the Men’s category of the Nations Cup Water Polo event.
After completing four matches in the tournament, the Egyptians screamed long and hard at their deserved win. All the teams played well and it was a great start to the water games of the Nations Cup. Every match was watched with anticipation as every shot brought them closer to their teams, and hopefully brought them closer to their Nations Cup dream. The pool was an amazing sight with Pakistanis coming to support the Indians, a large crowd of Arabs supporting the Egyptians, and of course the usual crowd that surrounds any Sri Lankan at a match. All 3 teams went home happy, with shiny medals and the pride of their win.
Sri Lanka (8) – India (2)
Sri Lanka (4) – Egypt (6)
India (1) – Egypt (11)
Silver: Sri Lanka
Women’s Water Polo Category
The Women’s category saw only 3 teams participating in the tournament: Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
In the first two rounds, Sri Lanka and Malaysia both defeated the Maldives with respective scores of 10-1 and 11-2. As such, Maldives was automatically awarded the bronze medal.
The fight for gold saw Sri Lanka taking on a strong Malaysian team. As soon as the game started, Malaysia made an early advance but was blocked by Sri Lanka. They tried again and scored their first goal. Malaysia’s first score did not deter the Sri Lankan players. They kept steady and soon scored their first goal within the first few minutes. It was an exciting match, as both sides scored one point after another, making it a tight match. However, the Malaysian team quickly returned to top form, leading with a score of 2-8 by half-time.
Partway through the second half, there was a heavy downpour, stopping the game at 3-11. Supporters and players went indoors to keep warm and tried to pass the time as they waited for the rain to stop. At about 8 p.m., the match resumed. Malaysia scored their 12th goal mere seconds after the game started. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka never lost their spirit and kept trying. Their endurance and determination paid off, scoring two goals consecutively. In the last 10 seconds of the game, Sri Lanka made another attempt to score a point. Unfortunately, they did not succeed. Malaysia swiftly scored another goal just before the final whistle, delivering a final result of 6-15.
Malaysia had successfully won another gold medal, and Sri Lanka added a hard-fought silver medal to their achievements in the other Nations Cup events. Players from all teams heartily congratulated one another and shared in each other’s joy.
Sri Lanka (10) – Maldives (1)
Malaysia (11) – Maldives (2)
Sri Lanka (6) – Malaysia (15)
Silver: Sri Lanka
By R Dhavinya Saba & Olivia Yeoh
Photographs by Malik Hisyam