How to qualify for water polo at Paris 2024. The Olympics qualification system explained

One of the oldest team sports on the Olympic programme returns to Paris 2024, with 10 teams competing in the women’s tournament and 12 in the men’s. Find out everything you need to know about the number of athletes, stars to watch and pathway to qualification below.

Water polo has been part of the Olympic programme since Paris 1900, making it one of the oldest team sports to feature at the Games. The women’s competition was added to the programme at Sydney 2000.

The game consists of four eight-minute periods, and seven-athlete teams (including one goalkeeper) have 30 seconds of ball possession to score a goal.

At Paris 2024, the sport returns to the same city where its Olympic history began, with the tournaments taking place from 5 to 11 August at La Defence Arena.

As in Tokyo 2020, there will be 10 teams in the women’s tournament and 12 in the men’s.

Learn more about the water polo qualification system for Paris 2024 below.

Number of quota places for water polo

The men’s Olympic water polo tournament will distribute 12 quota places to 12 teams from different National Olympic Committees (NOCs). One of these quota places will be allocated to the host country, France.

The women’s Olympic water polo tournament will distribute 10 quota places to 10 teams from different National Olympic Committees (NOCs). One of these quota places will also be allocated to the host country, France.

team is made up of 12 athletes. It is possible to have a 13th entry, provided that the conditions laid down by the late entry policy of the International Olympic Committee/Paris 2024 are met.

Maximum number of athletes per National Olympic Committee (NOC)

National Olympic Committee may have a maximum of 24 athletes registered in the Olympic water polo competition, 12 of each gender.

The qualification pathway

Men’s tournament

For the men’s competition, the 12 quota places will be distributed as follows:

Two quota places

At the 20th FINA World Championships, Fukuoka (Japan), July 2023. The two highest-placed National Confederations in the tournament will each obtain one quota place for their respective NOCs.

Five quota places

Through continental qualification tournaments:

  • Africa;
  • Americas;
  • Asia;
  • Europe;
  • Oceania.

The best National Olympic Committee/National Confederation classified in each of the five continental championships will each obtain one quota place.

If an NOC has already secured a quota place at the 20th FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, in 2023, then the next highest placed NOC from the respective Continental Championships will obtain a quota place.

Should any of the Continental Championships not take place, the next highest placing NOC from that respective continent at the 21st FINA World Championships Doha 2024 will obtain a quota place.

Four quota places

At the 21st FINA World Championships in Doha (Qatar), in 2024. The four highest-placed National Confederations in the tournament obtain quota places for their respective NOCs.

One quota place

The National Olympic Committee of the host country, France, will automatically obtain a quota place.

The qualification pathway

Women’s tournament

For the women’s competition, the 10 quota places will be distributed as follows:

Two quota places

At the 20th FINA World Championships, Fukuoka (Japan), July 2023. The two highest-placed National Confederations in the tournament will each obtain one quota place for their respective NOCs.

Five quota places

Through continental qualification tournaments:

  • Africa;
  • Americas;
  • Asia;
  • Europe;
  • Oceania.

The best National Olympic Committee/National Confederation classified in each of the five continental championships will each obtain one quota place.

If an NOC has already secured a quota place at the 20th FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, in 2023, then the next highest placed NOC from the respective Continental Championships will obtain a quota place.

Should any of the Continental Championships not take place, the next highest placing NOC from that respective continent at the 21st FINA World Championships Doha 2024 will obtain a quota place.

Two quota places

At the 21st FINA World Championships in Doha (Qatar), in 2024. The two highest-placed National Confederations in the tournament obtain quota places for their respective NOCs.

One quota place

The National Olympic Committee of the host country, France, will automatically obtain a quota place.