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Road To Rio: Olympic and Paralympic Briefs
SOME of last year’s Olympians will be competing in the North-East in November after Sunderland Aquatic Centre was selected as the venue for the final qualifying tournament for next year’s European Water Polo Championships.
The competition, which will take place between November 7-10, will mark the GB men’s team’s final opportunity to qualify for the 2014 European Championships.
Having finished third in the first two qualification tournaments, GB will face Russia, Slovenia, Israel and Moldova for a place in next year’s European Championships, which will be staged in Budapest in July.
“This is the first opportunity the GB men's water polo group have had to host an international event and we are well placed to secure a place in the next stage of the qualifying process for the European Championships next year,” said Alan Booth, chairman of the management committee who run the men’s game in the UK.
“We hope to have some help from an enthusiastic home crowd. The North-East has a reputation as great sports enthusiasts and we hope that many of them will be at the Sunderland pool to cheer on the GB men.
“This will be a chance for water polo supporters to see some of the players who played in the Olympic Games in London and to see some of the men who play their water polo for clubs around Europe.
“We are looking forward to introducing international water polo to many people who may not previously have had the opportunity to watch. I hope there will be some future GB players in the crowd seeing what a fast and exciting sport water polo can be.”
Ticket details and a full schedule for the event will be released shortly.
NORTH-EAST boxers Lawrence Osueke and Warren Baister will be representing England in the Ahmet Comert International tournament that begins in Turkey later today.
Osueke, who boxes out of Rye Hill ABC in Newcastle, will compete at light heavyweight as he looks to cement a place in the GB senior squad.
Baister, who learned his trade at Sunderland ABC, will fight at heavyweight as he trains his sights on a place at the 2016 Olympics in Rio having narrowly missed out in the qualifying process for last summer’s London Games.
SUNDERLAND sailor John Robertson expressed his disappointment at missing out on a medal at the IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships in Ireland, but admitted a fifth-placed finish was “probably about right”.
Robertson, a three-time Paralympian, teamed up with Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas in the sonar class.
The trio have had a low-key 2013 after a controversial end to last year’s Paralympics saw them removed from the bronze-medal position after they were penalised following a misunderstanding between an event official and a member of their shore crew who was undertaking repairs to the boat.
The case went all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but Robertson was unable to get the decision overturned.
The Wearsider scaled back his training programme this year, and while he was disappointed not to win a medal at the World Championships in Ireland, he was reasonably satisfied with his crew’s performance.
“I think we made a few little mistakes which pretty much cost us,” said Robertson. “We’ve also been messing around with the rig a bit, just testing and trying out a few bits and bobs.
“We’re not bitterly disappointed, but we’re not overjoyed at finishing fifth. It’s probably about right to be honest.”
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