Giant on the move
It looks tough enough on the surface. Lord knows what is happening under the water. This is a contact sport with a vengeance.
The exclusion rules — a free throw is granted and the offender excluded for 20 seconds — say it all. Exclusion fouls include intentionally splashing water in an opponent’s face, kicking or striking them, using foul language to the referee and “committing an act of brutality”.
The first casualty when I watched it the other day was Italy’s Elisa Casanova in a bruising encounter with China. “After two minutes, Elisa took a hit to her nose and could not play for the rest of the match,” said coach Mauro Maugeri.
“It’s for good luck, but we can’t talk about it — it’s a secret,” said Igor Hinic after an 11-7 victory over Italy. ”If I tell you, it will ruin it. Maybe it’s working — it worked today — but it’s too early to tell.”
A German water polo player who had earlier this year floated the idea of his team wearing orange robes a symbolic protest at the Olympics against China’s Tibet has changed his mind, saying the Tibet issue is far too complex and that he knows too little about China to organise such a demonstration.
Soeren Mackeben, 29, told Der Spiegel news magazine this week: “I’ve become more sceptical towards all sides in the meantime.” Mackeben had first proposed wearing the orange robes — the same colour as the Tibetan monks — in an interview in March.