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Water polo: Kazakh ladies striving to become best Asian team

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The Kazakh national team will attend women’s water polo tournament for the sixth time in a row at the 17th FINA World Championships this summer. In fact, this attendance of theirs is due to the successful performance of the Chinese at Rio Olympics. The team of Andrey Sazykin will be in a rather strong group, it would require a miraculous scenario to go ahead.

Kazakhstan finished third at the Asian Championships, regarding that China had already qualified for the World Championships by their 7th placement at the Olympics, the Kazakh team qualified for the World Championships in Budapest and so did Japan, silver-medallist of the 10th Asian Championships.

In fact the Kazakh team defeated Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Uzbekistan in Tokyo but they lost to Japan and China.

Photo: kazan2015.com

Kazakhstan’s women’s team has participated in the World Championships nine times so far, hence the 10th jubilee is due in Budapest. Their international achievements were significantly enhanced by their 6th placement at Sydney Olympics in 2000 but they were glad about their 8th finish in the Games in Athens, 2004.

In Kazan – with Miroslav Trumbic head coach at the time– their very first match saw a huge defeat by Spanish (14-7), Mirshina scored three goals. Canada further increased their disappointment by defeating them 17-4, yet, to our surprise in the last group match Kazakh ladies (playing in absolutely beautiful suits) defeated New-Zealand 14-4, Akilbajeva scored 6 goals.

In the match for the top 8 they were quite unlucky to play against powerhouse Netherlands, the team of Arno Havenga swept the match 21-1 so the Asian team had to play for 9-12th placements afterwards. First they went down against Brazil 10-5, then they lost to Canada 20-4 finishing 12th in the end.

The roster two years ago consisted of: Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Aruzhan Yegemberdiyeva, Aizhan Akilbayeva, Anna Turova, Kamila Zakirova, Zamira Myrzabekova, Oxana Saichuk, Darya Muravyeva, Darya Roga, Anastassiya Mirshina, Assem Mussarova (team leader), Darya Ryzhinskaya.

Interestingly enough, it has been announced recently that Anastassiya Mirshina will continue the next season from autumn in Szentes, Hungary.

Today the head coach of the team is Andrey Sazykin, he led the team earlier, as well, now he is in charge of preparing the ladies for Budapest.

At the 17th FINA World Championships in Group D Kazakh ladies will play Australia, Russia and Greece. They will start against Australia on 16 July.

Kazakh women’s team at the FINA World Championships:

8th placement (2001)
11th placement (2013)
12th placement (1994, 1998, 2015)
13th placement (2003, 2007, 2011)
14th placement (2009)