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The rise of water polo: promising team and enthusiastic administration
3/15/2017
Dana Abed  |  Office of Advancement  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
For many years, the Charles W. Hostler Student Center has been a hub for a myriad of sports, where athletes at the American University of Beirut (AUB) get to unleash their physical talent and play for various varsity teams. While most of the sports have been played at AUB for a long time, new ones are being added. 

With great enthusiasm and a high level of sportsmanship, the water polo team at AUB is on the rise: impressive performance coupled with great management make the team one of the most promising varsities at AUB. 

The game, played in the pool, consists of four quarters in which the two teams attempt to throw the ball into their opponent’s goal in order to score. Each team consists of six players and one goal keeper. 

At AUB, water polo started back in 2014 when two students, Amer El Yafi and Joey Nassar, approached the Athletics Department with their idea of starting a team. From five guys in 2015 to a complete and adequate team in 2017, the team had to go through ups and downs to get where they are today. 

“There was no proper administration and no proper communication when we first started. However, with the efforts and the support of the athletic department at AUB, we were able to pick up with the help of professionals,” said Rami El Husseini, team manager. 

Dr. Tarek Charaf, AUB water polo coach and technical advisor for water polo development at the International Swimming Federation (FINA), assured that the team has witnessed excellent progress. The players are very enthusiastic and eager to train and learn.

“In a four months period since the beginning of the season, the performance of the athletes got better by 80 percent, and their shooting force by 200,” explained Charaf. 

Charaf clarified that for the first time in the history of Lebanon, players are getting to join the water polo international league, playing with different international teams. This is a major milestone for water polo in Lebanon and for AUB. 

Charaf explained that there is no university league at present, since there are only two teams: at AUB and at Saint Joseph University (USJ). However, AUB is welcoming all interested individuals to come and play with their team and develop their skills. As Charaf put it, “AUB is becoming a national hub for water polo,” and there is in an attempt to grow the game on the national level.  Charaf explained that his focus is on water polo development, teaching the basics of the game to the team. 

As a coach, Charaf is working at enhancing the team spirit and the self-confidence of the team members. The level on which the members are playing differs, and he’s trying to accommodate for everyone. 

The future plans of the team include participating in an international league organized by the American University of Greece, on its campus, at the end of March. 

The Hostler Center staff and the water polo administrators are also looking to start beach water polo at the AUB beach. 

“This is a new sport, and there are no strong teams internationally to this day,” explained Charaf, “if we started it at AUB, we’ll have a chance at competing on an international level, and it will be a breakthrough in the region.”

Female water polo is also under its way. Women interested in the game are welcome to join the trainings, and if enough were interested, a team can be formed, as assured by Charaf and El Husseini. 

Playing on the team are athletes from different faculties and majors. Team members include George Khalil, George Farjalla, Maroun Romanos, George Saade, Bahij Mansour, Nicolas Bastoli, Hamza Kobrosly, Elio Abi Karam, Karam Zouhairy, Rami Elhusseini, Charbel Chidiac, Alexandre Megarbane, Habib Chamsi, Amr El Yafi, Joey Nassar, Mansour Riachi, Antoin Zouein, and Beshara Fayad.

Charaf and El Husseini invited the AUB community and especially the students to be more involved in supporting the varsity teams. During matches, students are invited to watch and cheer for their team. Building a University spirit when it comes to sports is important for the endurance and enhancement of those activities.
Story Highlights
  • ​​For many years, the Charles W. Hostler Student Center has been a hub for a myriad of sports, where athletes at the American University of Beirut (AUB) get to unleash their physical talent and play for various varsity teams. While most of the sports have been played at AUB for a long time, new ones are being added.​
  • With great enthusiasm and a high level of sportsmanship, the water polo team at AUB is on the rise: impressive performance coupled with great management make the team one of the most promising varsities at AUB.

 
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