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World Junior Swimming Championships widens pool

Fina relaxes rules to let countries with two athletes in each event participate

Gulf News

Dubai: The fourth Fina World Junior Swimming Championships kicks off in Dubai in just under a week with 859 athletes from 93 countries from around the world set to make their way to the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Sports Complex.

Organisers of the event announced on Monday that free transport to and from the complex would be provided for the duration of the event to allow all sports fans the chance to see the top swimming talents from their countries in action.

The competition hosts the best young swimmers in the world, with boys in the age group of 15-18 and girls between 14 and 17 years. With swimming powerhouses such as the United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia sending strong teams including multiple Olympians, the competition will be tough.

To aid the swimming governing body’s intention to develop swimming in smaller nations, countries with a minimum of two athletes in each event can participate, allowing nations who are still developing their swimming programmes to get a taste of the elite international competition, providing valuable experience to their competitors.

“We are very excited about the level of competition that will be on display, and spectators are guaranteed some world-class action in the pool, with swimmers such as Olympic and World Champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania competing. With 93 nations represented, almost every person in Dubai will have a team to cheer on, so we encourage them to use the free bus service and come out to see the best juniors in the world in action” said Ahmad Al Falasi, president of the UAE Swimming Federation and Chairman of the Organising Committee. The tournament has previously been hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Monterrey and Lima.

The free bus service to the Hamdan Sports Complex will run daily for both the morning heats sessions and the evening semi-finals and finals over the six days of competition. The buses will leave from the parking area opposite the main entrance at the Mall of the Emirates (near the main taxi rank between Debenhams and Harvey Nichols), and from the Dubai Mall,(in the public parking area to the right hand side of the Metro station).