In 2015 the HaBa WaBa International Festival will be doubled and will land overseas. Besides the usual event of Lignano Sabbiadoro (June 23rd-28th), in July 9th-12th, HaBa WaBa North America will take place: a festival organized in Montreal, Canada, by the DJ Global Wave of Dragan Jovanovic and Tony Azevedo thanks to the concession of HaBa WaBa logo and format given by WaterPolo Development. We asked Jovanovic – former Serbia goalkeeper and former Canada coach – to share his impression about HaBa WaBa event in the American continent.
Why did you want to bring HaBa WaBa to America?
For several reasons. First and the most important reason is that my partner (Tony Azevedo) and I see HaBa WaBa project as a very good and very important one for building the sport. The way that HaBa WaBa is structured is the way that our sport should be developed. We believe in values and goals of HaBa WaBa and we wanted to connect kids and clubs in North America with that opportunity. Every stage of water polo as a sport should focus on fun, but also on great values and educational component. That is what HaBa WaBa is about. Another reason is that both, Tony and I, want to help the sport that we spent all our lives in and develop it much better then it is developed right now. We want to provide kids with what we didn’t have when we were their age and teach them what water polo and sport in general is about and how it helps to build great people. We wanted to bring HaBa WaBa to North America for all of those reasons and because we truly believe that if water polo as a sport wants to move forward, it needs strong base outside of Europe. It needs to be developed and strong all around the world, specially in Americas. We have big plans to develop our sport on many levels and with big projects all across North America and HaBa WaBa covers beginning (12 years and younger group). It fits perfectly with our strategic plans and vision.
How many kids and teams are going to be in Montreal?
At this moment we don’t know how many teams and kids will be present in July in Montreal since registration opened a month ago and is still on going. What we do know is that interest is very big from all over North America and even South America. There is a big chance that we will, beside Canadian and USA teams, have teams from Brazil and Mexico and we are very proud of that. We are going to close registration once we reach 40 team entries. Brazilian club showed interest to come and participate.
What is the venue? Can you describe it?
It is a beautiful venue called Parc Jean Drapeau, in Montreal. Outdoor pools overlooking downtown the city. Amazing venue where FINA World Championship 2005 was held as well as many other international competitions, like last summer FINA Masters World Championship.
The tournament will be exactly as european HaBa WaBa (same kids age, same awards)?
Not completely the same. In agreement and discussion with WPD people, we have agreed that age groups in HaBa WaBa North America will be slightly different due to different circumstances in North America. Kids are not starting really young to play water polo here and we thought that U12 and U10 groups would be appropriate for the beginning of HaBa WaBa North America. Everything else will be the same or similar (awards, structure, goals, vision…). We would like to emphasise that HaBa WaBa North America isn’t “just another water polo tournament”. It is much more than that. It is a true festival with the idea of being mini-Olympics for mini-water polo players. We are putting great focus and efforts to everything outside of the pool, where kids will have an unforgettable experience and they will feel important and similar to “big guys” at the Olympic Games.
Besides the tournament, is there going to be any other special event?
We are working on several activites that will happen at the pool deck, during all day. Where kids will enjoy and have fun, being together with other teams and kids from North and South America, learning about different cultures while enjoying fun things like jugglers, parties, creating tattoos, amusement park, face painting, clowns…and many other surprises.
Is there any special activities planned for young players’parents?
Daily organization is focused to the young players, with games and special activities. We would love to involve all parents to take part in the festival with their kids, but at the same time we would love to give them some “free time” where they can go and enjoy Montreal while their kids will be at the pool, with their coaches, in organized atmosphere during whole day.
Any famous water polo player will attend to HaBa WaBa North America?
We announced Tony Azevedo few days ago as a first HaBa WaBa North America Ambassador. He will not be present at first edition of our festival being playing at Pan American Games at the same time. Today I’m going to announce our next Ambassador. Brenda Villa, the most successful and the most awarded female water polo player of all times, is HaBa WaBa North America Ambassador and she will be present at the first edition in Montreal. She will take photos with teams and kids and will have presentation/speech for everyone involved in the festival. This is huge opportunity for all kids, but for all parents as well, to join and hear from a champion about her beginnings, her life, what does it take to be a champion, how does sport change one’s life and many other things. Everyone should take this opportunity since Brenda is helping promoting our sport all over the world and even Wall Street companies are fighting to have her as guest.
HaBa WaBa North America wants to be an extraordinary event.
Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of something big and great at its very beginning. There is only one of that kind ever.