Posted by Hong Kong Water Polo | Others | Thursday 11 June 2009 10:58 AM



Trivia: What is the oldest team sport in the Olympics? Soccer? Basketball? Handball? Hockey?

The answer is… none of the above! In fact, it is WATER POLO! The first ever Olympic water polo match actually took place in Paris in the year 1900. Water polo actually began in England in the 19th century, and the game play and rules have evolved immensely since that time.


King of Pain“, “Daddy of Team Sports“, “The True Man Sport” or “Beasts in the Water” — call this sport whatever you want, but it is still arguably one of the toughest sports that human beings have invented. Water polo players must have the SKILLS to handle the ball (dribbling, passing and shooting), the SPEEDSTAMINA andENDURANCE to constantly tread water and sprint back and forth in a 30m field, STRENGTH and MENTAL TOUGHNESS to constantly fight with the opponents underwater and to struggle for position, theINTELLIGENCE to know when to do the right thing and to make the plays, the ALERTNESS to be always aware of what the other teammates, as well as the players on the opposite team, are doing in the water, and last but not least, TEAMWORK and COORDINATIONbetween each and every single teammate.


As you can see from the above list, water polo demands a whole lot, both physically and mentally, from its players, and it does require a great love for the game in order to propel each individual to be so committed that they would train every day. They would need to weight train to get strong so don’t get bullied in the water; practice swimming so they can outswim their opponents; do numerous shooting, passing and water-treading drills to perfect their skills; and practice various offensive and defensive tactics in preparation for competitions. Yet the interesting thing is, it is exactly the above things that make water polo such a fun, challenging and enjoyable sport!



Basic Game Play *

The game is played in a 30 m (length) x 20 m (width) pitch, and contrary to popular belief, players CANNOT touch the bottom of the pool, so yes, they have to tread water all the time! The goal of the game is quite simple — the team that scores the most goals wins. There can be at most 13 players for each team, and there are only 6 field players plus 1 goal keeper in the water during a game. The field players can only use one hand to touch the ball at any time, while the goal keeper can use both hands. The game is separated into four 7-minute quarters, and each quarter starts off with a “sprint off” — in which the ball is placed in the center of the field, and one player from each team sprints for the ball. The team that has possession of the ball has to attack within a 35 second time frame — failure to shoot or score when the shot clock is up would result in a turnover.

Foul *

Fouls constitute a major role in the game of water polo. Basically, there are 2 kinds of fouls: a minor foul and a major foul. There is no limit to how many minor fouls you can get, but a player will be ejected from the game if he receives 3 major fouls. Major fouls include intentionally sinking someone, grabbing someone from behind, or kicking someone among other things. Once a player commits a major foul, he has to sit in a rectangular “box” (which is actually an area sectioned off by lane lines) behind the goal line for 20 seconds, and the opposition will be in a “man-up” situation. Obviously, the attacking team has an advantage and this is actually where a majority of the goal comes from in competitions. There is also the penalty shot (4m) — which is awarded if a major foul is committed when a player is in a very good position to score. (e.g. a player goes one on one with the goal keeper, but an opposing player flagrantly fouls the player from behind.) Although lots of fouls are awarded in a water polo game, a lot of the action are in fact going on UNDERWATER — there are lots of suit grabbing, kicking, holding, fighting under the water that the referees that are judging the game from above the water level simply cannot see. Water polo can really be quite a brutal game!



Who are we? Technically, we are a water polo club that is set up under the governing body of Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (H.K.A.S.A.). We are responsible for all the trainings, competitions and development programs for water polo in Hong Kong. Players are selected from the program to represent Hong Kong in international competitions such as the Asian Games, Asian Swimming Championships and Asia Pacific Water Polo Tournament. Currently there are two men’s teams (Senior and Junior) and one women’s team.

The organization is run by an enthusiastic committee, which is headed by chairman Howard Wong and secretary Marcus Ku. Due to the scarcity of resources allocated for the sport in Hong Kong, the committee works hard to obtain and manage funds to keep the club running; as well as to oversee the attainment of training venues; the management and maintenance of equipment; the development of players for the sport; and the organization of local water polo competitions such as the Interschool Water Polo Tournament (Secondary School Division) and the Intervarsity Water Polo Tournament.

We truly encourage and welcome everyone who is interested in checking out water polo to come to the trainings and competitions and learn more about the sport!

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