Dubai: Olympic Games gold medallist and world record holder Cameron van der Burgh will head a world-class field when the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup returns to Dubai next month.
The South African will be joined by the likes of 2011 World Cup champion Therese Alshammar of Sweden at what promises to be a highly competitive event at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex on October 2 and 3.
“It is a great honour to be hosting this fantastic event again in Dubai,” said Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee. “Last year’s World Cup was a great success and we are delighted to be welcoming the world’s best again next month. I have no doubt that we will once again witness some incredible action over the two days in October.”
The Dubai competition will be the first of the eight-leg 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 men and women vying for prize money in each of the 36 events.
With the World Championships (25m) being held in Turkey in December this year, organisers are expecting a top-class field as swimmers re-set their focus after the London 2012 Olympics, which was contested in a 50m pool, on achieving success in the shortcourse events.
The event is being organised by the DSC and the UAE Swimming Federation and is part of a long-term plan to promote and develop swimming in the region.
“One of our key objectives in hosting these events is to stimulate the growth of aquatic sports in the UAE. We have seen a substantial increase in the number of children participating in swimming since we held our first major World Championships event here in 2010, and we anticipate seeing continued growth with each event we hold,” said Dr Al Sharif.
“Not only is it wonderful to be able to offer such quality sport to the Dubai public, but the benefits of having this wonderful venue where we can proudly host these events are really starting to show. We had our first medallist in the World Cup last year, and we aim to see many more of our UAE athletes reach the podium in the future. Events such as this are a critical element in this plan.”
The World Cup events will see teams from 24 countries including Great Britain, the USA and China competing for honours.
Ahmad Al Falasi, President of the UAE Swimming Federation, said: “With so many nationalities living in Dubai, we are encouraging spectators to come out and show support for their teams as they take each other on in this spectacular state-of-the-art venue, which is now established as one of the best venues on the world swimming circuit.
“And of course we will all be cheering on our own UAE swimmers as they take on the world.”
The Dubai event will begin at 9am on October 2, with heats in the morning and finals being contested at 6pm, with the same schedule the following day. Tickets will be available on the door at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex, which is located on the Dubai Bypass Road (E611).