Water-polo: S'pore may get World Cup place if it overcomes Iran

Water-polo: S'pore may get World Cup place if it overcomes Iran
Singapore vice-captain Loh Zhi Zhi (blue cap) in action against Sri Lanka. The 23-year-old scored four goals and helped Singapore to a 26-5 win.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore men's water polo team are assured of their best finish in an Asian-level competition since winning the bronze at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.

But they could be in for a bonus if they beat Iran today in the six-team Asian Water Polo Cup at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex.

Singapore beat Sri Lanka 26-5 on Friday to set up Saturday's key clash with Iran. Not only will the winner of the match go away with the champions' trophy, but they will also clinch a possible slot at next year's World Cup in Kazakhstan.

Qualification for the prestigious tournament, however, is dependent on whether any team forfeit their spot in the eight-team competition.

Kazakhstan are currently Asia's sole representatives, having qualified automatically as hosts.

Mirjam Heller, water polo coordinator of Fina, swimming's world governing body, told The Straits Times in an e-mail: "There is only a chance (of the Asian Water Polo Cup winners going to the World Cup) if no team from the African continent go, as all the other continents should have a representative."

Khosrow Amini, member of the Fina technical water polo committee added: "I cannot say exactly when we will know (if any team pull out). The earliest could be next month."

Loh Zhi Zhi, one of the team's two vice-captains, who scored four goals against Sri Lanka, remains focused on today's game. The 23-year-old said: "I think we have a good chance to come away with a victory. It will be a close game, but we are in good form, and are prepared for the game."

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