OTTAWA (Wednesday, May 16, 2012) – Ahmed El-Awadi, Executive Director of Water Polo Canada (WPC), today announced that National Team Head Coaches, Dragan Jovanovic and Pat Oaten, have been appointed to new roles as High Performance Directors for the Men’s and Women’s National Teams respectively. “Dragan and Pat have both distinguished themselves as proven, world-class coaches,” said El-Awadi from WPC’s Ottawa office.
“Through Dragan’s eight-year tenure, the National Men’s Team rose rapidly in the rankings, jumping from 16th place in the world to as high as eighth. Under Pat’s leadership, the Women’s National Team delivered podium performances at the World Championships, the World Cup, and in World League competition.”
El-Awadi noted that the two appointments have been part of Water Polo Canada’s long-term plan, but that the timetable was moved up after the recent Olympic Qualification Tournaments. “We were all very disappointed after both teams just missed qualifying for this summer’s London Games,” added El-Awadi. “At the same time, we can’t overlook the fact that Canadian water polo has made tremendous strides in recent years. Our athletes are highly skilled, physically fit and deeply passionate about the game and there is every reason to be optimistic about the future.”
Jovanovic will continue to work out of the National Men’s Team Training Centre in Calgary. Assistant Coach, Aleksandar Beslin, will take over responsibilities as Head Coach, effective immediately. “Alex and I have worked very closely for several years and I’m 100 per cent confident in his ability to lead the National Men’s Program,” said Jovanovic. “Our team is one of the youngest, strongest, and most exciting anywhere in the world. I am extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished. And with direction and inspiration from Alex, Canadians can expect to see great things from this team over the next several years.”
Oaten will remain in Montreal, working with the Women’s National Team Program at the National Training Centre. Assistant Coach Justin Oliveira will serve on an interim basis until a full-time Head Coach is appointed later this summer. “To come within two goals of qualifying for London was heartbreaking, to be sure, but we’ve got a group of outstanding athletes here that are poised for greatness,” added Oaten. “I’m really looking forward to working with the new Head Coach to support Team Canada’s rise to the very top of the world rankings.”
Upcoming events The Women’s National Team leaves for China next Saturday to compete in the World League Super Final. In Vancouver and Victoria early next month, the National Men’s Team will play a series of exhibition matches against Hungary, which is looking to make it four gold medals in a row in men’s Olympic competition.