The 16th Asian Canoe Polo Championships have been held in October 2015 in Hong Kong, with over 200 players in four categories (Men, U21 Men, Women, U21 Women) from eleven participating countries (Brunei, China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong).
Iran, Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Japan dominated the finals of the Championships. Each of them respectively won a championship in the end. Iran won a total of four medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze) and the top scorer titles in the U21 men and women categories.
Singapore’s women canoe polo team defeated five-time defending champions Iran 3-1 in the final, winning the title for the first time. Singapore had fallen to Iran at the final hurdle thrice (2005, 2009 and 2013). Iran’s U21 women team cut Singapore’s title hopes winning the final 5-1. Iran men won bronze after future champion Japan defeated them 7-6 in the semifinals. The U21 team lost 2-6 to Chinese Taipei in the final to settle for a silver medal.
Photos of the Iranian team during the championship in Hong Kong
The Asian Canoeing Championships are subdivided into three tournaments: canoe sprint, canoe slalom and canoe polo. Canoe polo is a combination of canoeing and water polo. The canoes that are used are lighter and shorter than a conventional one, for easier manoeuvrability. Two teams of five players attempt to score using a water polo ball in an area slightly smaller than an Olympic-sized pool. The game can be played in a swimming pool or a lake. The 20-minute game is divided into two halves, with a three-minute interval. The players score by sending the ball into a goal, which is suspended 2m above the water’s surface. Besides using the paddles, players can also use their hands to pass the ball, similar to the practice in water polo. Each player has to wear protective gear such as helmet, vest and face guard.