Jeremy Cheng Beng Guan at the OCBC Aquatics Centre. Photo credit: Yu Pei Fern
Water Polo officially began at the 28th South East Asian Games today. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, fret not! To get you started, we caught hold of Jeremy Cheng Beng Guan, 44, to tell us more about the exciting and fast-paced sport. He is a National Technical Official (Supervisor) from the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA), as well as a Chief Referee under the Technical Water Polo Community in the SSA.
Please give a crash course for those watching water polo for the first time.
The game consists of 13 players – two goal keepers, numbered 1 and 13. In each match, only seven players per team are allowed in the field of play, including the goalkeeper. There are six players sitting on the bench. At any time, if a player wants to switch out, they can ask for a substitute to come in. Goals are scored by throwing the ball into the goal.
What types of actions are considered fouls?
The defender cannot sink any players with two hands; neither can he touch any part of the opponents’ head, including the face and the neck. That counts as a major foul. The defender can actually press and sink the opponent with one hand, but he has to show that he is trying to reach for the ball.
Each player can only have a maximum of three personal fouls. After the third personal foul, he will not be allowed back in that game. Water polo is very much a contact sport. There is a lot of pushing and shoving.
What do you think it is about water polo that people find it so exciting?
To me, because I love this game, I find it very interesting because it is such a challenging game. For those who watch the game for the first time, I think they will be amazed by how these players can float in the water when others are trying to sink them, yet still manage to score the goals.
Singapore and Indonesia Women’s team during the first Water Polo Round Robin match on 10 June 2015. Photo credit: Byron Wee / SINGSOC
Give the audience a heads up on what to look out for in the upcoming matches!
Look out for the Women’s game between Singapore and Thailand. That will be a very interesting game to watch because in terms of strength, both teams are quite evenly matched. For the men’s team, be sure to catch the game between Singapore and Indonesia, as well as Singapore versus Thailand.
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.