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Waterpolo - 10. July 2009.

Prince William Supports inspires Water Polo Win

Prince William was among the many supporters who cheered on the British Women’s Water Polo team to an emphatic victory over Slovakia at the LEN European Nations Trophy in Manchester.


The Prince watched the British team win the match 17-6 before meeting athletes and key figures within the sport and business communities as a show of support for British Water Polo athletes as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympics.


Prince William is passionate about the sport and while at St Andrew’s University was a keen member of the water polo team. In 2004 he was selected to represent Scotland Universities in an international tournament and while serving in the Army also played water polo.


“Water polo is very personal to me,” said Prince William. “I used to play regularly and it’s a fantastic game. It’s physical, competitive and really engaged me.


“Tonight we saw a fantastic performance from the British women’s team. It was a stunning match and I hope more people have the chance to see out water polo players in action, and get behind the teams.


“It would be great to see more children playing water polo and enjoying swimming as I found it great fun.”


Prince William’s support of British water polo has been warmly welcomed by British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes.


“The atmosphere in the Manchester Aquatic Centre tonight was electric as water polo’s number one fan Prince William inspired the British women’s team to their third win in succession.


“It was a convincing victory over a strong Slovakian team and the Prince clearly enjoyed the game. His support of the teams if strong and asked if he could be kept informed of the future of the water polo programme in Britain.”


In 2005, many athletes decided to pursue their Olympic dreams and gave up education and employment to move to Manchester where British Swimming’s High Performance Water Polo Centre is based.


However, following a funding cut of 75%, many face real financial hardship as they continue to prepare for London.


As a result of the funding cut, the water polo programme itself has been split with the women continuing to prepare in Manchester while the men will eventually be based offshore with professional clubs to continue their development.

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