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Dubai all set for Fina/Arena World Cup

Teams from 34 countries hit the pool at Shaikh Hamdan complex

Image Credit: Courtesy Sarah Marks
Robert Hurley is a short course specialist who broke the World Record in a World Cup competition in Sydney in 2008. Robert Hurley in training at Sheikh Hamdan complex.
Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is all set to play host to more than 130 top swimmers from 34 countries at this week’s Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup, scheduled on October 2-3.

“We are ready to go,” confirmed UAE Swimming Association (UAE SA) President Ahmad Al Falasi.

“Some of the top swimmers will be in Dubai over the next three days and it would be a treat for any sporting fan to come and take in the action,” he added.

Many of the 32 teams in the fray hit the pool in the morning session.

Among the teams familiarising themselves with the pool today were members of the Australian contingent of Robert Hurley, Kyle Richardson, Kenneth To, Tomasso D’Orsogna, Rachel Goh and Ashley Delaney.

Hurley is a short course specialist who broke the World Record in a World Cup competition in Sydney in 2008.

He won 2 gold and 1 silver in the recent Australian short course Championships, and has his sights set on the World Championships (25m) in Turkey in December.

Hurley said: “I am feeling really good and fit coming off the Australian Short Course Championships and am looking forward to the competition”.

“This is a great pool and we are excited to be here for the World Cup, we’ve got the World Championships in December and this is a great lead up to it,” he added.

Featuring among the top swimmers are three Olympic gold medallists, 11 current world record holders and 10 current world champions as Dubai braces for the opening round of the eight-leg series, which will conclude with the eighth and final round in Singapore on November 10-11.

After Dubai, the event moves to Doha next weekend followed by Stockholm, Moscow, Berlin, Beijing and Tokyo before the finale in Singapore.

The Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup was run for the first time in its current format in 2007 offering prize money for each race, bonuses for world records, and a $100,000 (Dh367,000) bounty to the overall winner at the end of the series.

Featuring in this week’s opener are traditional powerhouses like the US, Australia, Germany, China and Russia along with competitors from South Africa, Sweden and Hungary. Other countries also represented include Ukraine, Japan and Kenya’s lone entrant Jason Dunford, who won gold in Dubai last year.

The formal opening of the event will be held at 5.30 pm on Tuesday followed by the final races between 6 to 8 pm. Actual competition will get under way earlier in the morning of October 2 with the heats.

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.

Tickets to the event, that is being held under the auspices of the Dubai Sports Council, will be available at the door at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex that is located on the Dubai Bypass Road (E611).