Dubai: There will be no predictable victories in next week’s Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup in Dubai, as the start list guarantees tough competition in every event.
With current Olympic champions, world champions and world record holders all hitting the pool in an effort to take gold in the first round of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup 2012 from October 2 to 3, the battles for a place on the podium are guaranteed to be thrilling.
In the men’s events, the start lists read like a who’s who in the pool in each event. The butterfly events in particular will have some spectacular showdowns as world record holder Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia lines up against giant-killer Chad Le Clos. Korotyshkin tied with Le Clos for silver behind Michael Phelps in the 100 butterfly at the London Olympics and will be looking to match his world record time and go one better in Dubai. However with Le Clos still on a high after beating Phelps in the 200m butterfly for his first Olympic gold, it will be a tough call for Korotyshkin to touch the wall first.
The men’s breaststroke events are going to be equally riveting with a duel between two London Olympic gold medallists on the cards. Daniel Gyurta of Hungary took the gold in the 200m breaststroke after finishing fourth in the 100m, which was won by Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa. Triple world record holder Gyurta will no doubt be keen to avenge that defeat, but again neither can assume they have the gold in the bag as Marco Koch who took gold in all three breaststroke events in Dubai last year will be back to defend his titles.
In the women’s events, all eyes will be on the reigning two-time World Cup champion Therese Alshammar of Sweden who will be trying to make it three overall World Cup titles in a row. Alshammar thrives on short course racing and will be looking to retain her place at the top of the standings.
But just as the men’s competition is going to be thrilling, the women’s will be equally exciting, with Alshammar, the current short course World Champion up against the current long course World Champion Inge Dekker of the Netherlands in the 50m butterfly. Alshammar will be keen to turn the tables on Dekker after losing her long course World Championships crown to her last year.
The Dubai competition, which will take place on October 2 and 3, will be the first of the eight-leg highly competitive World Cup series, which then moves on to Doha, Stockholm, Moscow, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore. 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.
The Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup will begin at 9 am on October 2 with heats in the morning, and finals being contested from 6 pm, with the same schedule the next day. The opening ceremony will be at 5.30 pm on Tuesday. Tickets to the event will be available at the door, at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex, which is located on the Dubai Bypass Road (E611).