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Manchester to Host European Water Polo -- December 14, 2005

Manchester, England. December 14. MANCHESTER is to host the European Men's Water Polo B Championship in 2007 after fighting off a strong bid from Lugano in Switzerland.

LEN, the European federation for aquatic sports, awarded the event to Manchester at least week's European Swimming Championships (25m) in Trieste, Italy, and complimented both cities on the quality of their bids.

British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes has welcomed the announcement which he sees as an integral part of Water Polo development within the UK in readiness for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"This is an important step in our Olympic preparation," said Sparkes. "It now gives the men's team a home focus in the pool and an opportunity to make a significant step forward to 2012.

"It is an important further investment in Water Polo following on from the Commonwealth Tournament next year which will see home nations competing in Perth, Australia."

The 2007 European B Championships will be held at the Manchester Aquatic Centre, home to the Commonwealth Games aquatic events in 2002.

Manchester is becoming a centre of excellence for British Water Polo and National Performance Director Nick Hume is excited about the competition's prospects.

"The city is now the home of British Water Polo," said Hume. "We've set up a women's high performance centre here and will be opening one for the men next year so this sits very nicely with the competition.

"The event will be a huge motivation for the players and will be a big part of our development plans. We will have a young team at the Commonwealth Tournament in January, we have the Europeans in 2007 and we obviously have our main goal as the 2012 Olympics.

"Together these events will help us make that big step to being competitive at the London Olympics. Between now and then we're going to have to prove how competitive we can be and the Championships will give us an opportunity to do just that.

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