Split 2022 – Highlights from the Opening Press Conference 

The stage is set for another outstanding spectacle, the 35th LEN European Water Polo  Championships in Split. And that stage will be exceptional – for the first time since the water polo  continental showcase became a stand-alone event in 1999, the ‘summer edition’ shall be held  indoors, in the magnificent Spaladium Arena, site of a series of outstanding sporting spectacles.

The stage is set for another outstanding spectacle – LEN Total Waterpolo

Split 2022 will run from 27 August – 10 September.

Split and the Spaladium Arena is ready for the kick-off the 35th European Water Polo Championships.  As head of the organisers Renato Zivkovic said at the opening press conference, since they had earned  the right to host the event in 2018, they had to overcome the impacts of the global Covid pandemic and now those of the ongoing war – but with the support of the Government, the city and their partners, they  were able to deliver everything they had planned. 

“Despite all these difficulties, we remained calm, solved the problems the best possible way over the  last six months, though this was very demanding” he said. “But now what matters that we have 28  teams here, 92 matches to play in 15 days – two pools were constructed, the arena is dressed up and  everything is ready for the great show. I hope that everyone will enjoy the next two weeks.” 

It would be nice if the pool could stay forever – LEN Total Waterpolo

“I’ve been here for many events, handball championship, concerts, but for me the Arena looks the most  beautiful now and it would be nice if the pool could stay forever” said Milos Mracevic, talking on  behalf of LEN as Bureau Member and water polo liaison. “We can’t wait for the start of the competition  and to pass the floor to the main stars of the event. On behalf of LEN President Antonio Silva and First  Vice-President Josip Varvodic we are all grateful for the Croatian Water Polo Federation for what they  have done in the last year, the enormous efforts they’ve put in to have a successful event in Split. I’m  sure that at the end everyone will leave with the most positive impressions.” 

LEN Operational Manager Marco Birri highlighted that 34 broadcasters will have live coverage of the  championships and LEN also offers free live stream of each game with on-site commentary. “On our  new platform, which is available through our website, we’ll feature even more contents, while you may  relive each and every goal scored in Split by visiting our livescoring site where the goal clips will be  featured almost immediately as the game progresses.” 

34 broadcasters will have live coverage of the  championships – LEN Total Waterpolo

The championships begin with the first two rounds of the women’s tournament on Saturday and Sunday  while the men’s tourney starts on Monday.  

Quotes from the protagonists 

We had some injuries which were unpredictable but those will not influence of our ambitions and goals here – LEN Total Waterpolo

Dejan Savic, head coach, Serbia’s men’s team 

“Our roster is new, even compared to the World Championships, we had the highest number of changes  together with the Croatians. We had some injuries which were unpredictable but those will not influence of our ambitions and goals here. Some may say we are too ambitious, knowing the team  composition, but we have to appreciate the history of Serbian water polo, so we always have to aim to  be the best. I’ve never asked for an alibi, neither as a player, nor as a coach – but I keep telling, that for  us it’s always the Olympics which are in the focus, to qualify and then reach the best result there. Here  we just want to make sure that the team grows, as everything is just a step towards Paris. “We had the privilege to test the venue with our Croatian friends last evening and it’s beautiful. We know we’ll have the top level here – Croatia, Serbia and Hungary are the best organisers when it comes to water polo events.” 

Ivica Tucak, head coach, Croatia’s men’s team 

“We had the privilege to play a practice game with Serbia in this beautiful venue – congratulations for  Renato and the entire organising team who worked on this wonderful project. I’m sure we’ll have a  fantastic championship here in Split. 

We are ready to play in this beautiful city, in front of our fans, show our best and go as far as we can – LEN Total Waterpolo

“As for the team, everybody will give his absolute top to represent the country the best possible way.  We have ambitions but we have a completely new team compared to Tokyo. Going through all the  changes and forming a new team is never easy, and we also had to deal with injuries and sickness, so  we’ll miss a couple of players. Still, we proved our strength at the World Championships and at the  warm-up tournaments, we have a lot to offer, and we have the same goal as always – that is, reaching  the semis and playing in the medal round. It’s difficult to predict anything but we are ready to play in  this beautiful city, in front of our fans, show our best and go as far as we can.” 

Anni Espar, player, member of Spain’s title-holding women’s team 

“We loved both medals, the gold from the last Europeans and the silver from the Olympics – obviously,  the Olympic medal has a bigger weight even if it’s just a silver one. We came here to show that we are  the best, we are ready to be among the best in this Olympic cycle too. Hungary, Italy, Netherlands – any  team can beat anyone here, so we have to fight hard in every game to prove ourselves and keep playing  on the highest possible level.” 

We came here to show that we are  the best – LEN Total Waterpolo

Laura Ester, goalkeeper, member of Spain’s title-holding women’s team 

“Thanks to the good results we achieved during over these years, the country really supports women’s  water polo and our national team. But of course, as the men could finally win the world title, now they  are in the media spotlight. That’s fine after all, they pretty much deserved it.” 

Aljosa Kunac, assistant coach, Croatia’s women’s team 

“The coronavirus knocked on the door and we had to send two girls away. The preparations weren’t that  easy as ours is a young team, and many players were in Belgrade at the U18 World Championships, but  now we have the full line-up so we could practice together. We are expecting some good results at  home.”