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Two European Championships in one capital
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ImageThe Serbian capital Belgrade will be the Mecca for young swimmers and waterpolo players, staging the European Junior Swimming and Men’s Youth European Waterpolo Championships from 27 July to 3 August. While 40 titles will be at stake in swimming at Tasmajdan Swimming Pool from 30 July onwards, 16 men´s youth waterpolo teams will determine the 2008 European champion at Banica Sports Centre, home of famous and historical water polo Club Champions Partizan “Raiffeisen” Belgrade.

Serbia and the City of Belgrade are hosting both of these European age group Championships for the first time ever, but many swimmers and waterpolo players already came to the Serbian capital last year for the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), which was not only including swimming competions, but also a waterpolo tournament for the players of the age group 1991. Both events were already hosted at the same venues; just the waterpolo matches at Banica Sports Centre will move from the famous indoor arena to the outdoor-pool this time.

40 of 51 LEN member countries have entered the swimming championships, which are organised. A few days before the start of the Olympic swimming competitions in Beijing, China numerous hopefuls for the 2012 Olympic Games in London will compete in Belgrade. The event will be the second top championships within a short period time for many of the youngsters after the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships held in Monterrey, Mexico, three weeks ago. Six of the eleven European title holders from Monterrey and 28 of the 38 European medal winners in the individual competitions at the World Junior Swimming Championships will compete in Belgrade as well.

Athletes born between 1990 and 1993 are eligible to play in the Men’s Youth European Water Polo Championships, starting on Sunday morning. This year´s host Serbia want to retain their 2007 title, which was won at Gzira, Malta, but is facing some strong challengers this time. If the home team is successful, it would be their fourth consecutive title after the 2003 championships in Istanbul, Turkey and the 2005 competition in Sofia, competition - both still as Serbia and Montenegro.