Brits set for first match of World Junior Championships

The British U20 women’s water polo team are set for their opening match of the 2015 World Junior Championships in Volos, Greece.

The Brits take on their hosts Greece in their tricky opening match this afternoon before group matches against Japan and Russia on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

England Water Polo Management Group members Ian Elliot and Phil Winstanley have left their good luck messages for the team on the ASA Water Polo Hub.

Ian Elliot, England Water Polo Manager

“As you are probably aware we have been tasked by the ASA to set out a new direction for water polo in England, and in conjunction with our partners in Scotland and Wales, in Great Britain too.

“The England Talent programme is a central part of our strategic thinking for the future of water polo in this country, and we look forward to sharing our detailed proposals with the ASA and the wider polo community in November.

“The GB Under-20s provide an inspiration for us all and an example of what focused effort and dedication can achieve,” – Ian Elliot, England Water Polo Manager

“Meantime our competitive programme continues apace with our boys and girls representing Great Britain this year in European Championships, and our U20 women currently at the World Junior Championships in Greece – providing an inspiration for us all and an example of what focused effort and dedication can achieve.

“We wish them well!”

Phil Winstanley, performance lead for England Water Polo

“The current development structures in water polo have been firmly established for several years but unfortunately we have not seen significant progression in terms of our competitive standing at European level.

“Added to that, we have identified a significant drop-out from water polo of our best age group athletes following their exit from the talent programme.

“The Water Polo Management Group is now looking to make a series of recommendations to the ASA in November to address these issues which, if approved, will see some significant changes to the current system.

“Our aim is producing athletes capable of competing on the International stage,” – Phil Winstanley, Performance Lead for England Water Polo

“We believe that it is essential for junior polo athletes to have greater opportunities than currently exist to play the sport during their development, and also that the door to elite sport must be left open for those juniors who are later developers.

“A new domestic programme of fixtures is therefore being considered to allow for more playing opportunities for junior players, and we are planning approaches to retain players within the sport.

“We are of the opinion that once the time comes for European competition, it is extremely important for us to focus our resources, and give our athletes the very best opportunity to compete at international level.

“Our proposals are therefore likely to include a more individualised approach to the development of our very best athletes in the 2 years prior to their competitive European programmes, with the aim of producing athletes capable of competing on the International stage, and who accept the obligation to work hard, to be disciplined, and to have an unwavering commitment to achievement of their athletic goals.”