[quote_box_center]January 10th to January 23rd saw Belgrade’s Kombank Arena host to the European Water Polo Championships, with 16 men’s and 12 women’s national teams participating in the competition. A total of 100 games have been played at the European Championships – 56 in men’s and 44 in women’s category – played for the first time at a single swimming area.[/quote_box_center]

The Serbian team won the gold medal in men’s competition by defeating the Montenegrin team in the finals by 10:8, defending its title of the European champion from 2014 in Hungary. The Hungarian women’s team deservedly took gold.

The tradition of competing in men’s category can be dated back to 1926, when the first water polo championship took place in Budapest, while women’s competition first started in 1985 in Oslo. This year’s competition is the 32nd in men’s and the 16th in women’s category.

European Water Polo Championships Belgrade 2016
European Water Polo Championships Belgrade 2016

In addition to the gold medal, the European Water Polo Championship was of great importance to Serbia and the organizers in terms of event organizing. In addition to the organizers, the organizational and executive boards, the championship was organized with the help of 400 volunteers. All of them together contributed to the success of this big event.

Kombank Arena was completely redecorated for the occasion and transformed into the biggest swimming grounds.

This included the construction of two Myrtha Pools System inox pools, with the pool decks around the pools of 1,500 square meters in surface, one for competitions (size 34x21x2m) and one warm-up pool (size 25x15x2m). Both pools were manufactured and installed by the Italian company Piscine Castiglione.

Pool installation started on December 27th and ended on January 3rd, when the filling of the pools with water started. The hydrant network poured around 1,300 cubic meters of water in the two pools. Filling the pools with water, and then heating them, took 36 hours. The competition pool was equipped with a new water flow system that disinfects and purifies water, after which the pools are refilled with it.

The construction and installation of the pools were investments worth EUR 1,25 billion.

The dismantling of the pools took four days, and May is set to see both pools installed in Vrnjacka Banja, where the National Water Polo Center is planned for construction.

The 2016 European Water Polo Championships received widespread media attention. The Championships was attended by more than 337 accredited reporters and media representatives, as many as 167 of them being from abroad.  The European Water Polo Championships broke the record in TV ratings, also – the live broadcast on the small screen was watched by as many as 2,761,691 viewers.

European Water Polo Championships Belgrade 2016
European Water Polo Championships Belgrade 2016

The crowds visiting Kombank Arena broke the record on the first day of the championship already, when the game between Serbia and Croatia was attended by 11,000 spectators, which was also the venue’s maximum capacity. The Serbian water polo players were cheered on by crowds of similar size also at the rest of the games.

Due to the great interest in the finals of the European Championshipa, additional capacities were installed inside Kombank Arena, so the final game was attended by 18,473 people. This number of visitors has set a new world record and surpassed the previous one, which was set at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 when the final water polo game between Hungary and Russia saw 17,000 spectators.

After a very successful run of the European Water Polo Championships, the hosts proved that Belgrade is able to fulfill all demands and requirements that are necessary in organizing events this big.


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