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Ja Invitationals place second
BIG PLANS are afoot for the Jamaica water polo team after ending the Youth Versus Experience International Invitational Water Polo Tournament in second and fifth place positions on Sunday at the National Stadium Pool.
In the final that saw the Jamaican Invitational team going up against the might of the Hungarians, a close match-up ensued until the Hungarians pulled free to unleash a 9-5 thumping.
Jamaica's Under 20 team weren't able to get to the final four and had to watch as Curacao, who resurged after defeats in their first two games, grabbed third place after beating Trinidad and Tobago 21-10.
The Under-20s had gone crashing out of the competition on Saturday after suffering a devastating 12-0 loss to Curacao.
Despite the fifth place showing of the Under-20s, national Technical Director, Laszlo Borbeley, was pleased with the achievements of the team.
"Sure they came fifth again. This time around they had a draw with Trinidad, something that they had never done before. Added to that they have gained some valuable experience. Some of these players have never seen the Hungarian team before because I have lost at least three players to schools and clubs overseas," says Borbeley.
The performance of the Invitational team was creditable and asked if a team of similar make-up would become a staple of the Jamaican Water Polo diet, Borbely said.
"It's a bit difficult. We can't ask Sean Paul and Jason Henriquez to take up Water Polo as a career, they have to do their music. Omar Amr is an American and while we can invite him for other tournaments we can't depend on him. Genai Kerr is a Jamaican and can play for us so there are possibilities. He wants to get naturalised through his Jamaican father and with his help we can do something with a senior team. If we use some of the members of the masters team along with the junior players we can create a serious senior team," Borbeley told The Gleaner.
Borbeley will now turn his sights to the Youth Pan-Am Championships in Mexico city, where Jamaica will have an Under-16 team that has five members of the Under-20 team in Jamie Smith, Robert Hamilton, Garrick Robinson, Joseph Hernandez, and Gawayne Ross.
That tournament will run from January 6-17 2005.
The just-concluded tournament served as part of ongoing preparation for that tournament and involves the December 19 cross the harbour swim in Ocho Rios, where water polo will be played in the ocean for the first time.