Dubai: The Chinese junior national team showed their class by taking the synchronised swimming honours on day two of the 1st International Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming Championships here on Friday.
The Chinese won the duet free and team free competitions at the Hamdan Bin Rashid Bin Mohammad Sports Centre, before Partizan Raiffeisen of Serbia took a hard-earned win over Heliopolis of Greece in the final water polo match of the night.
The solo free section of the synchronised swimming was contested by Greece and Egypt and, in a repeat of the result in the solo technical competition on Thursday, was won by Evanthia Makrygianni of the Shooting Club of Greece over Jomana Elmaghrabi of Vouliagmeni Nautical Club of Egypt.
The duet free was a much closer tussle between China and Greece, with the Chinese team of Li Lu and Yu Guo determined to go one better than their silver in the duet technical the day before. And they did just that in a tight finish, taking the gold ahead of Evgenia Kafetzi and Eleni Papandreou by 1.625 points. The Egyptian team of Lelia Abdelmoez and Elmaghrabi took the bronze.
The team free was again a close battle between Greece and China, with Egypt not able to match their more experienced and talented competitors, even though they had three Olympic representatives in their team. The Chinese team edged out Greece by 1.562 points.
In the water polo, the strong Greek team of Olympiakos followed up on their win over Heliopolis of Egypt with an easy victory over the Kuwait national team. The Kuwaitis worked hard but were no match for their more experienced opponents, who took an early lead and never faltered. With four members of the Greek national team in the Olympiakos squad, they were always going to be the team to beat. After leading 18-2 at three-quarter time, Greece took it up a gear in the final quarter, winning by a resounding 28-2.
In the match between Heliopolis and Partizan Raiffeisen, a combination of tough defence and good goalkeeping from both sides kept the scores at 1-1 at the first break, with no further score until Heliopolis found the net with 2.08 left on the clock in the second eight-minute quarter. Partizan replied, but the score remained at 2-2 until half-time.
The spectators witnessed an exciting game, with neither side letting up until the final whistle. Partizan pulled ahead to lead 4-2 at the third break, going on to take the match 7-2.
The 1st International Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming Championships are being staged in the lead up to the 9th Asian Swimming Championships, which will be held in Dubai from November 15-25. This will be the first time in the history of the Asian Championships and Dubai that all four disciplines of swimming (50m pool), synchronised swimming, water polo and diving will be held in one event in one venue.