During the month of January, Budapest’s state-of-the-art Duna Aquatics Arena will welcome Europe’s top men’s and women’s water polo nations as the city plays host to the 34th LEN European Water Polo Championships.
Serbia, who won their 4th consecutive men’s title in Barcelona two years ago, and the Netherlands, 5 times women’s champions, will be out to defend their respective crowns. However, host nation Hungary, the most decorated nation in European water polo history, will be looking to add to their 15gold medals across both men’s and women’s events.
The Duna Arena, situated in city’s 13th District, will host all 92 games of the event which got off to a great start on Sunday (12th) as the opening 6 games of the women’s competition served up some exciting plays and 160 goals.
Those present on the opening day were also witness to a moment of European Water Polo history as Israel were, correctly, the recipients of the first-ever goal awarded by VAR in the Championships.
The opening day threw up no shocks as the big guns Russia, Netherlands, and hosts Hungary all emerged victorious from their maiden group games. The Hungarians, as expected, were cheered on by a raucous home support including members of the boisterous Carpathian Brigade, more commonly associated with the Nemzeti Tizenegy. Their presence and support surely playing a part as the women eased to a 19 goal victory against an overwhelmed Croatia.
The men, who last tasted European success in Florence back in 1999, will be hoping for a similarly positive start to their campaign against Turkey on Tuesday evening.
The competitions will run every day until the Finals weekend of the 25th and 26th of January.
Limited tickets are still available via the competition website and I would highly recommend all Budapest based sports fans to grab one while they remain and head along for an enjoyable, family-friendly day out.
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