The Games of the Small States of Europe Bureau is mulling over a proposal submitted by Monaco which sees waterpolo make its first appearance in the biennial sports festival during the 2027 edition that will be held in the French principality.
Waterpolo had never been in contention to form part of the Games since the inception of the Games in 1985 due to a lack of interest from the participating countries.
However, in a surprise announcement made during Monday’s meeting, it was announced that waterpolo will be forming part of the sports programme for the 2027 edition.
Maltese Olympic Committee general secretary Kevin Azzopardi said that the chances that waterpolo will win the approval of the other countries looks very strong given that several small nations have their own waterpolo national teams.
“The proposal of having waterpolo in the 2027 GSSE is still a proposal, however, I believe that there is a very good chance that waterpolo will be given the green light as there is growing interest from other small countries,” Azzopardi said.
“In fact, at the moment Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Monaco all have formed a waterpolo national team while Montenegro boasts a huge tradition in the sport, so all these countries will surely push to have the sport included in four year’s time.”
On his part, Karl Izzo, the president of the Aquatic Sports Association was excited by the prospect of having waterpolo included in the GSSE schedule.
“I am really happy with this development,” Izzo said.
“This has been long overdue as for many years we had shown this wish to take part in these Games, however, there was a lack of number in countries who were interested in fielding their national teams.
“It must be said that in recent months the new administration at LEN has been encouraging countries like Luxembourg and Cyrpus to participate in this sport and this has helped in stepping up the interest in these Games.
“No doubt, that we are looking forward to it as with our young national team we can be among the main contenders for the medals, even though we will have to contend with the powerhouse Montenegro who will surely be the team to beat.”
During Monday’s meeting, it was also announced by the Monaco Olympic Committee that sailing and rugby 7s will also be part of their sports programme along with bowls who will make a return to the Games.
Elsewhere, Andorra presented its sports programme for the next edition in 2025.
This edition will see the number of disciplines going up from the ten that are being held here in Malta this week, to 12.
In fact, in Andorra the Games will see the return of cycling and volleyball, which will also include beach volley, along with a debut for two new sport, namely karate and rhythmic gymnastics.
The other disciplines to be held in La Vella are athletics, swimming, judo, shooting, rugby 7s, table tennis, tennis, basketball, which will be played on both 5×5 and 3×3 formats.
Meanwhile, the GSSE Bureau is planning to host a workshop in the coming months that will discuss the future of the Games and it is understood that one of the items on the agenda is a request from Vatican City and the Faroe Islands to join the GSSE family.
As regards future editions, Luxembourg are prime candidates to host the Games in 2029 while Cyprus are the early contenders for 2031.
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