No spectators helps men’s water polo team according to former Olympian
Written by Tony Salerno on 31 July 2021
Former Olympian Tyler Martin believes empty stadiums will help the Australian men’s water polo team in its quest for a first medal.
The Tokyo Olympic committee announced no spectators will attend the events which Martin says will give the Sharks an advantage.
“For the Australian water polo, we are not used to having big local crowds regularly so I think it will be good for the guys and girls
“For the European water polo teams who are used to competing in front of big crowds and full stadiums it will be a bit of a disadvantage.
“They are good under that pressure, and we are less experienced,” Martin said.
Crowds can often elevate an athlete’s nerves early in a tournament, but it is communication where Martin sees Australia benefitting most.
“No crowds will make communicating a lot easier.
“You can really hear a lot of the communication on the field or in the pool.
“By the time you are at the Olympics you are in a position where you are able to acclimatise and accommodate variables that everyone has to deal with,” Martin said.
Australia has started strongly in the Olympic Games going down 15-10 to favourites Montenegro and defeating Croatia.
In 16 Olympic games, the Sharks have only advanced from the group stage twice, but the early results could setup Australia to go deep in the tournament according to Martin.
“I think they are in a good position if they get off on the right foot, which they have there’s no reason they can’t get a medal for the first time in the sport’s history.”
Martin laments his team’s slow start at the 2016 Rio Olympics which proved costly at the backend of the competition.
“We ended up timing our run a little late because we got better and better as the tournament went on.
“If you are constantly chasing after results, it becomes a much tougher proposition,” Martin said.
The 31-year-old played with several of the current squad at the previous Olympics and believes the team will draw on their experience.
“Aaron Younger is probably one of the best players in the world, he’s won the equivalent to the champions league in soccer three times for various clubs in Europe.
“He’s the captain of the team and a super strong player.
“There’s a couple of other guys playing their fourth Olympics, Reece Howden and Richard Campbell who are both mainstays in the team and have both played 300 plus games.
“Aidan Roach is going to his third Olympics, Steve Roach’s son of rugby league fame, he’s a strong player and will step up in the big games,” Martin said.
The ninth ranked Sharks will take on heavyweights Spain today at 12:30pm.