A sport for summer

Water polo. Have you heard of it?Hopefully you have as it’s a great game for summer and it was one of the sports played in Fukuoka during the World Aquatics Championships last month. Water, swimming, a ball and fun. You could call it team-handball in a pool, I suppose. On a professional level it is extremely demanding as it is played in a pool that’s about 2 meter-deep, so the players’ feet never touch the bottom. The players are strong, powerful, great swimmers with exceptional endurance as the game is played over four quarters, each lasting 8 minutes. It doesn’t sound too long until you realize that they constantly thread water to stay afloat, while swimming, shooting, passing and fighting off opponents. Japan is getting better at it, both the men’s and the women’s team. The men’s team moved from 14th in 2008 to 9th in 2023 and the women rose from 17th in 2008 to 8th in 2023 in world ranking. No small feat when playing against the best teams in the world, such as Hungary, Spain, and Serbia on the men’s side and Hungary, the US and Spain on the women’s side  (current world ranking). Why don’t you watch some games the Japanese teams played, on Youtube for instance, and see if it something that would interest you. And if you can, try to watch underwater footage to see the incredible, and often very painful, action that goes on below the surface.                                    Alex