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UAE Swim Team Aiming High at World Juniors Championship

posted on 22/08/2013: 2281 views



Eleven promising young Emirati swimmers will be hoping for a home crowd advantage next week when the 4th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships kicks off at the Hamdan Sports Complex.

Fresh from his appearance at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona as a member of the two man senior UAE team, all eyes will be on 17 year old Yaaqoub Youssef Al Saadi. Al Saadi currently holds the UAE open record for the 200m backstroke, and is expected to produce some good times in his home pool next week.

Ashraf Saleh, Al Saadi's club coach at Al Ain, and currently acting National Coach, believes his young charge has great potential.

"He is only young and is still developing but is training hard. He didn't swim to his potential in Barcelona but we hope that he can use that experience to help him at World Juniors, and being in his home pool should help" said Saleh.

But Al Saadi is not the only member of the team who is expected to produce some good results. Sixteen year old Ali Ahmed Saeed is also one to watch. He currently holds the 50m butterfly record for the UAE and is the Gulf age champion for the 100m butterfly. Ahmed Ateiq Hashel and Abdulla Ali Hatem are also showing great promise and are hoping to make finals.

The UAE Swimming Federation recently set up a residential training program in Dubai, and they are hoping that this initiative, while still in its infancy, will reap rewards in the pool. Six young swimmers are in residence and all are members of the UAE Team competing next week.

"The team has a fairly tough competition schedule which is helping them gain experience and importantly to see what it takes to be an elite swimmer. The World Juniors is another important step in their development, mixing with the world's elite and seeing how they train and prepare is a good education for them" added Saleh.

"We are pleased with the progress the team is making and are looking forward to seeing them in action next week" said Ahmed Al Falasi, President of UAE Swimming Federation and Chairman of the Organising Committee.

"The experience of competing at this level is a vital step in the development of swimming in the UAE. Contact with top swimming nations helps build our knowledge of the latest training techniques and also inspires our young swimmers to strive to reach their goals" he added.

The Championships kicks off with the opening ceremony on Monday 26 August at 5pm, which promises to be an exciting start to the event with some thrilling entertainment planned. The ceremony will be followed by the first semi-finals and finals sessions starting at 6pm.

The Championship runs from 26-31 August and is for the best juniors in the world, girls aged 14-17 and boys aged 15-18. Teams from 93 nations will be competing, including traditionally strong swimming countries like the USA, Australia, UK, China and Russia. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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