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FINA World Cup ready to make a splash in Dubai

posted on 02/10/2012: 2266 views



Some of the biggest names in swimming will renew rivalries for the first time since the London Olympics when they dive into the pool for the inaugural leg of the 2012 FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup in Dubai on Tuesday.

The two-day event at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex in Dubai marks the second time the city will host the opening round of the prestigious World Cup series and organisers are delighted with the quality of the field assembled.

A total of 130 swimmers from 32 countries, including three gold medallists from the recently-held London Games – South Africans Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, and Hungary's Daniel Gyurta – are part of the line-up.

In addition, there will be 11 current world record holders among the stellar cast competing over the next two days, including veteran Swede Therese Alshammar and Ukranian Daryna Zavina, who won the 100m backstroke event here last year.

Also taking to the water will be Dubai-based Serb Velimir Stjepanovic. The teen was another star at the recent London Games, clocking a personal best and national record time in the heats before finishing sixth in the final of the 200m butterfly.

Championship Director Abdullah Shahdad: "We are very proud to be welcoming you back for another event and this is the fourth major event we have held in this magnificent venue.

"We are delighted with the impact these events are having on the development of swimming in Dubai.”

Ahmed Al Falasi, the President of the UAE Swimming Federation, said the events have helped raise the profile of the sport among young Emiratis.

"The number of swimmers has increased and what's more is our swimmers are now striving to achieve their goals and this is very important for the development of the sport in the UAE,” Al Falasi said.

A six man UAE team will also feature at the event led by the promising Mubarak Al Besher, who won a silver and bronze at the Arab Games in August and two gold medals at the GCC Championships in September.

Al Besher said: "The UAE team is really looking forward to this competition. There are so many great swimmers competing and we know we will have to produce our best efforts to match them. Having regular competitions of this standard is really good for the UAE and it inspires us to train harder.”

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu lauded the partnership with Dubai saying: "The city has become one of our best partners in this area and we want to give our sincere thanks to Sheikh Hamdan.

"London was a great swimming event and we are yet to receive TV viewership figures from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but swimming is becoming one of the biggest events at the Games. We are happy to be here and looking forward to hosting a great championship once again.” – Sport 360°

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