World class international swimming returns to Dubai tomorrow with the start of the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup, and organisers are delighted with both the calibre and number of entries received.
This is the fourth time Dubai has hosted a leg of the prestigious Swimming World Cup, and 235 swimmers from 38 countries will hit the pool tomorrow for the first day of exciting competition at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
The entry list for the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup features some of the biggest names in swimming from across the world. Current Swimming World Cup champions Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary head the list, which also includes Mireia Belmonte of Spain, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, Thomas Fraser Holmes of Australia and Velimir Stjepanovic of Serbia. Between them this group holds numerous World Championship and Olympic crowns, and World, Olympic, Commonwealth and European records, ensuring a thrilling competition and a great spectacle of swimming.
Speaking on behalf of the Dubai Sports Council, Rashid Al Kamali said
We are proud to see the spirit of unity between the organisations here, it is great to be all working together and it is an honour to be part of this. This is how we should build sport, it is good for the generation coming through to see this spirit of unity and to see the UAE athletes have the chance to compete with the elite swimmers. We wish everyone the best of luck for the competition.
Speaking at the pre-event Press Conference today, Dr Julio Maglione, FINA President, said
It is our pleasure to be back in Dubai. Dubai is now one of the most important partners of FINA, and the UAE Swimming Federation always produces excellent championships here in one of the best swimming pools in the world. I must also express my gratitude to MASTBANK for supporting the series. They are an important bank, and we appreciate very much their sponsorship of this event.
The Chairman of MASTBANK, Alexey Vlasenko, also attended the Press Conference and said
It is a great honour to be here, we appreciate the wonderful hospitality we always receive here. When Cornel Marculescu (FINA Executive Director) told us about the opportunity to sponsor this series we didn’t hesitate, as one of our main aims is to support young athletes.
Ahmed Al Falasi, President of the UAE Swimming Federation said
It is wonderful to have the FINA family back in Dubai, our work together over the past few years is paying dividends in the development of sport in the region, as we see more and more participants and the standards improving. We are sure that having the opportunity to see World and Olympic champions in action on a regular basis is behind this growth and improvement, and we look forward to continuing this great partnership with FINA to bring you these events.
The competition this year has attracted an exceptionally high quality field, and two of the stars expected to take gold at the meet, London Olympic gold medalist, World Champion and dual World Cup Champion Chad Le Clos and current World Champion and dual World Cup champion, Katinka Hosszu were among the guests at the press conference.
Katinka Hosszu arrived in Dubai after breaking three world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m individual medley in the first round of the Swimming World Cup in Doha last week, and collecting ten medals, including seven gold. She said
I missed a couple of world records in Doha so I hope to get them here. I love competing here, I’m really excited and I hope I can inspire local kids to be involved in swimming.”
Le Clos was delighted to be back in Dubai, “it’s always a great honour and pleasure to compete here, and to race in this fantastic facility. I hope to get a world record here, I’m looking forward to racing.”
At the conclusion of the Press Conference a special presentation was conducted by Samer Khallouf of Guiness World Records. A Guiness World Record certificate was awarded to the UAE’s Al Jasmi brothers, Obaid, Saeed, Bakheet and Faisal, in recognition of their achievement as the first set of brothers to make up a single relay team at the FINA World Championships. The brothers competed in the 4 x100m freestyle relay at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Dubai in 2010, and made history not only for the UAE but also for world swimming.
The Dubai competition, which will take place on August 31-September 1, is the second round of the seven-leg highly competitive World Cup series, which commenced in Doha on 27-28 August. After Dubai the competition will move onto to Hong Kong, then Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo. The final event will be held in Singapore on November 1-2. .
The Swimming World Cup is contested in a 25m pool and sees both men and women vying for prize money in each of the 36 events. Points are awarded for performances using a FINA scale which is based on the current world record time. Points are accumulated over the seven leg series, with prizemoney for all medalists. The overall top scorer in the men’s and women’s section at the end of the series will win USD$100,000.
Organisers have also included special races for children on both days to give them the opportunity to be part of the event. The “Children’s Swimming Festival” will feature 50m races for 8-12 year olds, and is open to any child who can swim that distance.
The FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup will begin on Sunday 31 August with heats in the morning at 10am, and finals being contested from 5.30pm, with the same schedule on Monday 1 September. The Opening Ceremony will be at 5pm on Sunday 31 August. Tickets to the event will be available online at platinumlist.net or at the door at the Hamdan Sports Complex, which is located on Emirates Road (E611).