Dubai: Dubai sports fans will be treated to another dose of world-class swimming action next month as a parade of Olympic and world champions head to Dubai for the Fina Swimming World Cup.
Organisers announced that Dubai crowd favourite Chad Le Clos of South Africa, Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu and the ever-popular long-distance champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia will be among the many stars competing for World Cup glory, as the event comes to Dubai for the fourth round of the eight-event series on October 17-18.
After brilliant performances in the first two rounds of the Swimming World Cup in Eindhoven and Berlin in August, which saw an unprecedented 10 world records broken over the two events, the competition promises to be tougher than ever this year.
An incredible six of these world records have been broken by Hosszu, who delighted the Dubai crowds last year when she completely dominated the competition and took home seven gold medals, before going on to win the overall World Cup title for 2012.
Hosszu is in scintillating form, having collected two gold medals in the 15th Fina Swimming World Championships in Barcelona in July in the 200m and 400m individual medley, just days before the first World Cup event. After only two rounds so far this year, she is already an extraordinary 185 points ahead of the second-placed swimmer in the overall rankings.
But Hosszu is far from the only drawcard, with golden boy Le Clos sure to wow the crowds again. Le Clos considers Dubai his lucky pool as he first tasted victory here in December 2010 in the 10th Fina World Championships (25m), before going on to win the Dubai leg and the overall World Cup series in 2011. In 2012 Le Clos cemented his place in swimming history, dethroning superstar Michael Phelps at the London Olympics to win the 200m butterfly.
Le Clos also took gold in both the 100m and 200m butterfly at this year’s World Championships, and after great performances in the first two rounds of this year’s World Cup, he is leading the men’s rankings.
Another Dubai favourite is Mellouli, who has established himself as one of the greatest distance swimmers in the world. After winning gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 1,500m, Mellouli made history in the 2012 Olympics, winning gold in the 10km open water and bronze in the 1500m, the only person ever to have medalled in both the pool and open water events at an Olympics. Mellouli also won gold at this year’s World Championships in the 5km swim, but has now turned his attention back to the pool for the World Cup.
Also among the parade of superstars heading to Dubai are Olympic and world champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands. She will be joined by world champions Yulia Yefimova of Russia and Jeanette Otteson Gray of Denmark, as well as world-record holders Federica Pellegrini of Italy, Roland Schoeman of South Africa and Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain, guaranteeing a thrilling two days of competition for spectators.
“It is a great honour to be hosting this fantastic event again in Dubai,” said Dr Ahmad Sa’ad Al Sharif, General Secretary, Dubai Sports Council.
“The previous two Fina Swimming World Cups have been great successes 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 in the magnificent Hamdan Sports Complex.”
The Dubai competition is the fourth leg of the eight-leg World Cup series, which commenced in August in Eindhoven in the Netherlands before moving on to Berlin. The Moscow leg will be held on October 12-13 before the Dubai event. The competition will then move to on to Doha, Singapore and Tokyo, with the final event in Beijing on November 13-14.
The Fina Swimming World Cup will begin at 10am on October 17 with the heats and finals being contested from 6pm. Tickets to the event will be available at the door at the Hamdan Sports Complex.