Water Polo

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Water Polo is one of the fastest and toughest team sports, which can best be described as a combination of Swimming, Handball, Football, Rugby and Wrestling. As far as numbers go, Water Polo steadily increased from one Universiade to the next. A women’s tournament has been included since Belgrade 2009.

EVENTS Summer universiade

All Events Summer Universiade


Jinjiang (CHN)

2023 (To be announced)


 Jinjiang (CHN)

21 November - 01 December 2019

Water Polo

FISU Technical Committee Chair


International Federation


 Fédération Internationale de Natation

History of Water Polo in FISU

Water Polo is one of the fastest and toughest team sports, which can be best described as a combination of swimming, handball, football, rugby and wrestling. A team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper and the aim of the game resembles that of football: to score as many goals as possible, each goal being worth one point.


The first university men’s Water Polo tournament was played at the 3rd International Summer Sports Week in Dortmund in 1953. Since then, student players from all over the world enjoyed to compete under the FISU five stars. As far as numbers go, Water Polo steadily increased from one Universiade to the next. Whereas seven teams participated in the first edition in 1959 in Torino (ITA), two pools of four (4) teams participated in the Summer Universiade in Sofia (BUL) in 1961, just a decade before reaching twelve teams in 1973 in Moscow (RUS). An additional boost came in the nineties with an increasing level of participation. Of particular interest was the final match between the United States and the outsider team of China during the 91 Universiade in Sheffield, being resolved just six seconds before the end of extra time, with the US carrying off their second university title.


The successful path of Water Polo continued throughout the new millennium with Montenegro and Serbia immediately arriving at the top after the break-up of Yugoslavia.


This progress and popularity of men’s Water Polo also led to an increasing development of women’s Water Polo. In 2000 the women’s tournament made its debut during the Sydney Olympics, enabling the Executive Committee of FISU to also include an eight teams’ tournament into the compulsory programme of the World University Games. The first edition of the women’s tournament was played in Belgrade in 2009, enjoying great popularity.


FISU Regulations

The Water Polo tournaments shall be organised in accordance with the most recent technical regulations of the “Fédération Internationale de Natation” (FINA). The programme and duration of the competition will be fixed by the Executive Committee in agreement with the Organising Committee and the CTI. In principle, the competitions will last thirteen (13) days maximum and will include:

  • one (1) men's tournament: sixteen (16) teams maximum;
  • one (1) women’s tournament: twelve (12) teams maximum.

Each country selected is authorised to enter one (1) team of thirteen (13) players. Countries participating in the Water Polo tournament must bring with their delegation and at their own cost, one (1) international FINA referee.


Minimum Requirements for Water Polo

The Organising Committee must provide, for exclusive use, an indoor or outdoor pool for international men's and women’s Water Polo as approved by the Water Polo CT. The FINA regulations must be followed.


Competition Facilities

Type of Venue

Number of Venues

Changing room competitors

Changing room TOJR

Spectator Seating

Press and Media Seating

Pool for Men’s Competition






Pool for Women‘s Competition













  • The play zone of the competition pool must be of 30m x 20m x 2m with a 1m space behind the goals and a half meter margin along each side.
  • Ball release mechanism to be fitted.
  • One set of goals and one spare set on site with the same specifications.
  • The additional indoor/outdoor pool must be equipped for men's and women’s Water Polo, with play zones of the following minimum dimensions: 25 m x 12.5 m x 1.8 m.


Previous Events 

  • 2009 - 25th Summer Universiade – Belgrade (SRB)
  • 2007 - 24th Summer Universiade – Bangkok (THA)
  • 2005 - 23rd Summer Universiade – Izmir (TUR)
  • 2003 - 22nd Summer Universiade – Daegu (KOR)
  • 2001 - 21st Summer Universiade – Beijing (CHN)
  • 1999 - 20th Summer Universiade – Palma de Mallorca (ESP)
  • 1997 - 19th Summer Universiade – Sicily (ITA)
  • 1995 - 18th Summer Universiade – Fukuoka (JPN)
  • 1993 - 17th Summer Universiade – Buffalo (USA)
  • 1991 - 16th Summer Universiade – Sheffield (GBR)
  • 1987 - 14th Summer Universiade – Zagreb (YUG)
  • 1985 - 13th Summer Universiade – Kobe (JPN)
  • 1983 - 12th Summer Universiade – Edmonton (CAN)
  • 1981 - 11th Summer Universiade – Bucharest (ROU)
  • 1979 - 10th Summer Universiade – Mexico City (MEX)
  • 1977 - 9th Summer Universiade – Sofia (BUL)
  • 1973 - 7th Summer Universiade – Moscow (URS)
  • 1970 - 6th Summer Universiade – Torino (ITA)
  • 1967 - 5th Summer Universiade – Tokyo (JPN)
  • 1965 - 4th Summer Universiade – Budapest (HUN)
  • 1963 - 3rd Summer Universiade – Porto Alegre (BRA)
  • 1961 - 2nd Summer Universiade – Sofia (BUL)
  • 1959 - 1st Summer Universiade – Torino (ITA)