The Bahamas' Under-16 water polo team.
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
With the recent success of the Bahamas' Mantas water polo club, head coach of the programme Laszlo Borbely said for the sport to continue its upward trend, corporate funding will be essential to its growth.
"We are establishing water polo life and this programme has grown a tremendous amount over the years. We are achieving great success, the players are getting new opportunities and exposure, we are creating new relationships with countries and other programmes all over the world but to keep achieving we need the programme to expand and that, of course, will require greater funding," he said.
"I would like for more of corporate Bahamas to really come on board, to see the vision and see the marketability. As these teams continue to qualify and travel to more and more events of higher stature it will take funding to do so and to have them prepared to continue this success."
The Under-16 water polo team concluded tournament play with a silver medal and secured Youth Pan Am Games qualification at the CCCAN Championships in El Salvador last week.
In the gold medal match, the water polo side suffered an 8-7 loss to Puerto Rico. It was their second loss of the tournament to Puerto Rico after they fell 13-8 on opening day. They advanced to the gold medal match with a 10-4 win over Costa Rica in the semi-finals.
Team Bahamas finished the preliminary round with a 13-11 win over Trinidad and Tobago. They opened tournament play on day one with a 15-4 win over Costa Rica and the aforementioned loss to Puerto Rico. On day two they defeated El Salvador 18-11 to advance to the semis against T&T.
Several Mantas players also secured roster spots with a United States-based team on their path to the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.
The USA Water Polo Junior Olympic Championships is the largest age group water polo tournament in America. Athletes and teams come from across the country to compete on the national stage.
The Junior Olympics Tournament consists of two divisions - the Championship Division and the Classic Division. Teams compete over a 4-day period within their respective age category. The team will compete in Session I of the event July 21-24 in San Jose, California.
The Bahamas' water polo began its string of successes this spring as it continued its trend as one of the elite performers in the region.
The Bahamas closed out the four-day competition at this segment of the 33rd CARIFTA Aquatics Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, with a trio of gold medals. "We have a year to train and to prepare for the Youth Pan Ams. We receive great support from Bahamas Aquatics and the government has taken steps toward assisting the programme but this talented group we have now can get even further with more exposure and competition. We also have to consider the development of the younger generation that is looking up to them and wants to find their way into the sport," Borbely said. "This is why the funding and the support of corporate Bahamas will be crucial, particularly over the course of the next year."