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London 2012: UAE swimmer realistic ahead of Olympic bid

posted on 26/07/2012: 2537 views



Dubai swimmer Mubarak Salem Al Besher is ready to push his limits when he takes to the pool at the Olympic Park's Aquatics Centre on Saturday.

Al Besher hopes to set a new personal best and clock a time that makes him stand out as an Emirati and an Arab. Both Al Besher and his American coach Jay Benner have realistic goals for the 24-year-old, who will make his Olympic debut in the 100m breaststroke event.

But Al Besher admits he is often burdened by unrealistic expectations from people in the UAE. "People who know the sport understand the reality and have reasonable expectations. But those who don't know tell me things like ‘Inshallah you'll go to London and get a medal',” Al Besher told Sport360°.

"I only respond to those who understand, and explain to them my realistic chances. But those who don't understand I give them one example.

I tell them ‘look at the difference between the Brazilian national football team and the UAE national football team'. They tell me ‘a big difference'. I tell them ‘the difference is the same between the UAE swimming team and the USA swimming team'.”

Benner, who has been working with Al Besher for the past 18 months, believes the Emirati's commitment and work ethic have put him in a position to keep improving, with one eye fixed on the Rio 2016 Olympics. – Sport 360°

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