More than 600 kids and 44 teams from 9 countries met at the Montjuïc Olympic Pool (Barcelona)
After 11 editions in Italy, three in Greece and other four in North America, it was Spain and Barcelona’s turn, with a very special first edition. The first HaBaWaBa Spain arrived in Barcelona running alongside the 33rd European Water Polo Championships.
During four days, the Montjuïc Municipal Pool became the festival’s splendid venue. The Royal Swimming Spanish Federation (RFEN) trusted Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA) for the organization of the event, which gathered 44 teams -36 U12 and 8 U10- from 9 different nationalities. Among the 44 teams, 27 where Spanish. Italy, Hungary, Malta, The Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, France and Egypt were the other countries represented.
BIWPA was up to a festival that goes far beyond the competition and the results. As indicated by its acronym (Happy Baby Water Ball), the HaBaWaBa is a unique experience for all participants with water polo, fun and learning.
More than 600 young players had four amazing days of water polo and fun, with animation activities, fair play workshops and exciting matches at the Europeans. The Hungary-Italy (5-12), the Montenegro-Spain (7-7) in the men’s competition, or the Greece-Holland (7-8) and the Spain-Russia (12-11) in women’s were some of the best.
From July 18th to 21st , the stands at the Bernat Picornell pools were full of HaBaWaBa kids. Between 300 and 400 participants dropped by the Europeans venue and proved that passion for water polo is more alive than ever.
In the Village area at the Europeans, before the matches, HaBaWaBa’s mascot Rock & Pop and Barcelona 2018’s mascot Wopit were waiting for the kids to make the wait more pleasant with some music and dancing. Of course, Katy Perry’s Swish Swish was the top hit.
The former centre-forward Iván Pérez and former Spain Women’s national team player Laura López were the two HaBaWaBa Spain ambassadors. The legend Ratko Rudic didn’t miss the event either. But the best surprise for all participants was the visit of Spain Men and Women’s national teams. The current silver and bronze medallists took hundreds of pictures and signed autographs for the HaBaWaBa kids.
Hegemony for CNB
Quim Colet, one of the important figures of the water polo model in Spain, led the organization of the competition, in which Club Natació Barcelona (Spain) claimed first place in both categories, U10 and U12. In the U10 tournament, CN Barcelona beat UE Horta ‘Taurons’ (Spain) at the final (6-5), while CN Poble Nou (Spain) finished in third place.
In the U12 category, teams were divided into three different divisions (Bronze, Silver and Gold) after the first stage, so nine teams won an award. CN Barcelona, Posillipo ‘Coccodrilli’ (Italy) and KSI ‘Blue Sharks’ from Budapest reached the podium in this order.
In the Silver Division, YBL Waterpolo Club (Hungary) finished in first place, followed by CN Rubí and Askartza Claret from Spain. Aquatica Torino (Italy) beat Pallanuoto Salerno (Italy) in the Bronze Division final, while CN Helios (Spain) were third.
HaBaWaBa Spain 2019
The Spanish Swimming Federation has congratulated BIWPA on the organization of the HaBaWaBa Spain and they are already in talks to decide place and dates for next year’s edition.
Some pictures from the festival, by Pfotoàlbums (more here):